St Patrick and the planets


A week ago [on Saint Patrick's Day], mass was celebrated at the grotto of St Patrick in Máméan, a mountain pass in the middle of the Maumturk mountain range in Galway. The grotto is marked by an alter, a tiny chapel and a statue of the saint as a shepherd. This evening, after the warmest day of the year so far, and the first official day of summer¹, the statue of the saint provided the foreground for a celestial display, as Jupiter, Venus and a crescent moon all seemed to crowd into the same small patch of sky. In the picture above, the moon is the largest point of light, nearest the statue², and beside it, Venus. Above them is Jupiter, and the tiny group of stars above Jupiter is the Pleiades. At the left edge of the photo can be seen the Orion constellation.

The next religious ceremony at Máméan will be on Good Friday at 3pm, as part of the Easter vigil.

¹The clocks went forward by an hour last night.

²The statue is illuminated by an off-camera flash. The exposure of the main picture was around 20 seconds, which left plenty of time to manually trigger a flash at very low power onto the statue.

One Response to “St Patrick and the planets”

  1. Thank you for a beautiful photo. I saw the sky from East Galway that night and it was spectacular.