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Established 16/3/2000


Spectacular Baltray image on A&S cover Clear Skies - Unraveling the Cosmic Vision of Ireland's Ancient Astronomers

Baltray star trails

This is the spectacular image which greets readers of the July issue of Astronomy & Space magazine. Taken by astronomer Declan McCormack, it accompanies the cover story and six-page spread inside written by Anthony Murphy of Mythical Ireland. The article is entitled "Clear Skies - Unraveling the Cosmic Vision of Ireland's Ancient Astronomers" and deals with some of the issues surrounding our interpretation of the competency of the prehistoric astronomers who assembled structures such as Newgrange. The image (on left) shows what astronomers call "Star Trails" circling over the Baltray Standing Stones in County Louth. The star trails image is created by the movement of the earth on its polar axis - thus a long exposure photograph such as this shows the stars appearing to move around a given point in the sky. Other images featured with the article, also taken by Declan, include the Newgrange and Stars image which was previously featured as a Mythical Ireland Photo of the Month for April 2008.

Astronomy & Space cover
A&S cover July 08  

Another image shows Orion and Sirius in the south over one of the stones of the Great Circle at Newgrange. The last image is the Milky Way hovering over Cairn T at Loughcrew, also previously featured here on the home page a couple of months back. It's become one of the marked traits of Mythical Ireland that every month we try to bring you fresh material, information and stunning photographs - and now even video!

This photo of the Baltray stones is one of the most breathtaking star trail images I've ever seen, and Declan has shown himself not only to be an accomplished astronomer, but a very capable astrophotographer as well. The article in Astronomy & Space magazine comes just in advance of the publication of the Second Edition (Revised and Expanded) of Island of the Setting Sun, the definitive work on Ireland's Ancient Astronomers. We hope the book will go to print this week, and should be in the shops in early July. Anthony Murphy, June 2008
The above photo and text appeared on the Mythical Ireland home page during June 2008

See the full text of the article here

All information and photos, except where otherwise stated, copyright, © Anthony Murphy, 1999-2015
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