Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Meteor and The Whale

Well what a beginning and end the last weekend gave our small town on the South East Coast of Ireland. It goes to show you never know and just about anything is possible!  On Friday I was a little late to learn of the unfortunate stranding of the large Sperm Whale that had caused a large furore over on the Cunnigar as hundreds swooped to witness for themselves as the magnificent but tragic creature's demise approached. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group were quick on the scene and you can only feel for these people who give so much to the study, preservation, and protection of some of our more incredible and beautiful visitor's to our coastline.  Ironically Sunday past was the Whale Watch day at Ardmore, an event I can gladly say I attended in a previous year and was able to discuss and learn so much about the species, I highly recommend anyone to do this in the future especially to bring the children along and awaken their interest in the natural world around them, not seeing a whale/dolphin is irrelevant (great if you do) but becoming a little more knowledgeable far outweighs that and I guarantee the kids will happily watch for hours, if the weathers good bring a picnic and once you know a little more you can always have your own whale watch day whenever you like. And it's for free, hooray!

This was the 68th such stranding of a whale on the Irish coastline and we can only hope that what this rare but unfortunate close encounter brings is a greater awareness and appreciation to many of us.

Our second event occurred late Monday night early Tuesday morning at approximately 00:10 and whereas the previous extraordinary occurence was of the sea, this one was very much of the sky. Upon looking out towards the majestic Comeragh Mountains I saw a spectacular (albeit short) display that took a moment to comprehend.  The eye only sees what the mind knows and the relationship between the two became strained for an instant as an extremely bright and large green light streaked nonchalantly across the dark night sky. Now this only lasted for around 1.5 seconds (maybe due to cloud?) but it certainly wasn't forgettable, questionable perhaps had my eyes deceived me? 

After putting out a manic tweet in the hope of contacting other witnesses I found that there were other Tweeters from Dundalk and as far as South West Scotland were doing the same thing.

"@AstronomyIrl saw a massive flash of light near Dundalk Co.Louth last night about 12:15, thought I was seeing things. #Fireball??"

From @NotHereFurlong

"Anyone in SW Scotland see the massive freball at 00:10 BST. It lit the sky around us and the side of the cottage"

From @GallowayAstro

Thank God I wasn't imagining things and thanks to Dungarvan Brewing Company's Cormac O Dwyer who responded locally having also seen the phenomena

"@DungarvanDiary Just after midnight two nights ago? Saw that too."

From @CormacO'Dwyer
Early Tuesday morning Astronomy Ireland  confirmed that a fragment of a comet had entered the earths atmosphere above Ireland, and how lucky it was to witness it.  I have filed a report with them and encourage any other witnesses to do so.

Closest likeness I could find in video though didn't breakup

Now at 300 euro a gram, if only I could find a piece of the darned thing!!

1 comment:

Dungarvan Diarist said...

Anyone else see the meteor, was this what you saw? Let me know.