Archives for posts with tag: BCO

It sounds like a tall tale thought up by a seven-year old Mr Gadget fanatic, but it’s true: the good folk in Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) have commissioned a large 32 metre transmitter just north of Midleton, Co. Cork for radio astronomy.

The site was originally developed in the 1980’s as a satellite transmission site for the Irish telecoms agency (now Eircom) to enable international communications. As is typical of the industry, it was already defunct by the mid-1990’s, with optical fibre replacing satellite as the primary medium for global telephony. The site was mothballed and in 2009, it was sold by Eircom to a private company.

The use of the site as a radio telescope is terrific from a number of standpoints. It will help to develop skills in space-science here in Ireland. It will provide fantastic outreach opportunities for kids who might be interested in science as a career. With CIT’s backing, it will create a focus for international research projects. It also has tourism potential for the east Cork region. Win, win, win, win!

I am genuinely delighted for the hardworking team in CIT and Blackrock castle, including Niall, Claire and Alan, Deirdre and Francis, all of whom I have had the pleasure to get to know in the last year. With their involvement and leadership, this is going to be a huge success.

I have a very fond memory of the station, in that it was the very place where I saw the fabulous auroras in October 2003. It’s a memory that I will never forget.

News reporting: Irish Examiner article. Irish Times article.

A stray tweet in TAM London a few weeks ago has lead to my setting up, with three other comrades in arms, Cork’s first Skeptics group in the city.

We are busy working on the agenda and details for our first meeting, which will take place in Blackrock Castle on Thursday next, November 25th at 8pm. We have a Twitter account and a Facebook page already, some posters on the way and a website in the works too, where we can post all sorts of stuff and nonsense.

The group is part of the global Skeptics in the Pub movement, where people come together to share stories and to discuss a wide range of topics, from pseudoscience to proper science, medicine to alternative medicine, parapsychology to psychology, and goodness knows what else.

I just want to say that I’m really appreciative of the work everyone is putting in. We have Dylan Evans from UCC lined up to do a speech on Alternative Medicine on Thursday and I’m hoping I can get a few more people to talk to us over the coming months. We hope to meet every month in Blackrock Castle. The Castle has a great cafĂ© with a full drinks license. We couldn’t have asked for a better location and meeting room.

If you have any ideas or suggestions on what else we can do to get the group off the ground, I’m all ears.

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