Tralee Library To Host ‘Images Of Starlight’ Exhibition

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Kevin Smith’s stunning image of the night sky over Ballinskelligs Castle, Co. Kerry (9 August, 2018).

KERRY County Library in Tralee will host a major exhibition on the night sky by members of the Dublin-based Irish Astronomical Society from Friday, April 26 to Friday, May 10.

The “Images of Starlight” Exhibition is a stunning collection of sixty images of stars, planets, galaxies and other space objects photographed through telescopes in Ireland including a number taken from the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve in South Kerry.

It will be officially opened on Thursday evening, April 25th, by the Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr. Norma Foley.

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The event, which premiered in the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin in November and attracted several thousand visitors, is on its first visit outside the capital.

It will coincide and is linked to the Wild Mind Nature Festival in Fenit from April 25-28.

The exhibition is supported by the Tourism Unit of Kerry County Council and will continue to Cahersiveen Library and the Kerry International Dark Reserve on May 15th and be on view there until mid-June.

John Dolan of the Irish Astronomical Society and exhibition co-ordinator says that “Observing and taking photos of what appears in the sky at night is a fascinating hobby which is becoming more popular in Ireland. Telescopes can now be obtained at reasonable cost and recent advances in digital photography have made taking photographs of the night sky more accessible to amateurs. Recent advances in digital photography have made taking photographs of the night sky more accessible.”

“Many of the photographs in this exhibition have been taken from people’s back gardens using standard consumer DSLR cameras. The low light capability in these cameras has greatly improved in recent years.  The sixty images on show will include Irish winners of the International Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition organised by the Greenwich Observatory in London. This exhibition will also include a special focus on light pollution and the steps we can take as a society to improve and protect our night sky.  This is of particular importance to County Kerry as the location of Europe’s only Gold Tier Dark Sky Reserve.”

Astronomy and astro-tourism has a growing public and tourist following in Ireland and abroad, according to County Tourism Officer, John Griffin.

“The designation of South West Kerry as a gold tier dark sky reserve has positioned Kerry at the forefront of this growing niche market.  It also part of the wider activity, adventure, education and natural heritage tourism which is a key objective of Kerry County Council’s Tourism Strategy.  We are hoping that large numbers come to view this stunning exhibition and participate in the other Wild Mind Nature Festival programme of activities being organised in Fenit and Tralee Bay area next weekend.”

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