Exploring Mars

    Monday 5th April 2021 @ 7pm

    Exploring Mars with Derek Dempsey FRAS of Newport Astronomy Club

    A small, cold planet with a thin, unbreathable atmosphere and no magnetic field to protect it from deadly solar and cosmic radiation – yet we are endlessly fascinated by Mars, can’t wait to get there in person and in the meantime have been sending spacecraft to explore it on our behalf. Mars is covered with rocks, craters and ultra-fine toxic dust, but there is strong evidence that water flowed there in the past – so did life evolve there and could it be there still? With the successful landing of the Perseverance rover last month, our interest has been piqued even further, ready to take the next big steps forward in exploring Mars.

    As a teenager in secondary school, Derek Dempsey became firmly hooked on astronomy by the excitement of the Apollo moon landings and has been reading about the subject and observing the night sky ever since. Derek graduated from the UCD School of Engineering in 1978 and has spent his professional life working in telecommunications – but has always found time for amateur astronomy. He is one of the founder members of the Newport Astronomy Club, motivated in no small part by the Gold Tier accreditation of the Mayo Dark Sky Park in May 2016 by the International Dark Sky Association, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2018

    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.


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

    +353 (0)98 49 888