Did you Know

    Vega will replace Polaris as the Pole Star in about 13,000 years due to a wobble in the earth’s axis.

    The Milky Way - Owing to light pollution, the sight of The Milky Way – our own galaxy – is no longer visible to more than one third of the world’s population.

    On a clear night here in Mayo, you can see over 4,500 twinkling stars, the Milky Way, and even meteor showers! 

    Whilst standing still right now, you are actually moving at 1,600 km per hour due to the Earth’s rotation.

    The Sun’s rays take eight minutes to reach us at the speed of light (300,000 km per second).

    Time Travelling …The light you see from a twinkling star may have taken thousands of years to reach you, so when you look at the stars, you are actually looking back in time! In Mayo’s dark skies you can also see the Andromeda Galaxy whose light left 2.5 million years ago!!!

    Meteor showers are named after the constellation their meteors appear to come from. So Perseids appear to come from Perseus. Look for this in August!

    A light year is how astronomers measure distance in space. The speed of light is 300,000km per second! It can travel seven times around the earth in one second!

    Star Parties

    Why not make the most of the winter skies and hold a “Star Party” with friends and family.

    Hosting a star themed party is great fun and requires just a little preparation. Stargazing is dependent upon clear skies – you can check the weather with our link.

    We have prepared a stargazing check list and you can also download our star maps and/or planisphere for an idea of what you should see.

    It’s not essential to use a telescope (unless you or a guest already has some experience), but we recommend you have at least one pair of binoculars to enhance your stargazing experience.

    Check your directions – either with a compass or your phone. Knowing which direction to face for a north or south view will save time when checking your star maps.

    Make sure your guests bring plenty of warm clothes, have a spare blanket or wrap for them to keep toasty.

    Prepare a “Star” menu for fun. You could offer your guests star shaped biscuits, moon pies, rocket salad, or even hot “soup’ernova”!

    Enhance the atmosphere with some space or star party sound track. You can easily build a themed play list by searching for music with the words “moon” or “stars” in the title or choosing old favourites like “Vincent” by Don McLean. Examples; “Moondance” by Van Morrison, “Stardust” by Nat King Cole.

    Welcome to Mayo Dark Sky Park. Mayo is now home to Ireland’s first International Dark Sky Park, showcasing some of the darkest, most pristine skies in the world.

    Where the darkest skies reveal the brightest stars.

    CONTACT INFO

    Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre,
    National Parks & Wildlife Service,
    Ballycroy Village,
    Co. Mayo

    +353 (0)98 49 888



    Copyright © 2017 Mayo Dark Sky Park. All Rights Reserved.