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Birthday Present

Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:34 am

It's my birthday this week so we booked a trip to Ireland for the craic! Probably might have been better to have come last week or to have arranged for a week's extension to the heatwave! Still here's a picture of my birthday present...
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Re: Birthday Present

Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:18 am

It's the 72 inch Leviathan reflecting telescope at Birr in County Offaly. It is a thing of beauty.


The Third Earl of Rosse designed and built it in the early 1840s. It was the largest telescope in the world at the time. He discovered the spiral nature of M51 and conjectured that some of the blurry things on Messier's list were made up of individual stars and so were a huge distance away. The universe suddenly got a lot bigger that day!

Re: Birthday Present

Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:33 pm

Thank you for that.

I think it is good to visit some of the important astronomical locations around the world - if possible. It gives a real sense of the exciting developments of knowledge that astronomers have made over the years. I will certainly put Birr Castle on my list of places to go!

I get the impression that the Earl of Rosse was more excited about the construction of the telescope than actually using it, but was most happy for others to use it. It would have been great to have been his neighbour in those days if you were interested in astronomy!

Re: Birthday Present

Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:12 pm

Birr is indeed a great place to visit! They have a radio telescope as well, the size of a football pitch (lofar). And quite an extensive and interesting science centre. According to the web site people came from all over the world to see the Leviathan!
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