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Donegal’s starry night on BBC2

A PHOTOGRAPH of the night sky taken from Trusk Lough near Ballybofey was seen by millions of viewers on the BBC2 Stargazing programme on Wednesday night.

The spectacular photograph of the Milky Way was taken by local astrophotographer Brendan Alexander from Killygordon and was one of the first shown on the second night of the three-night live series.

The programme is presented by Dara O’Briain and Professor Brian Cox. The series saw more than 100,000 members of the public take part and share their contributions with the viewers.

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Brendan told the Donegal News how the image came into being.

“Having seen the forecast for clear skies I planned to get this shot from the scenic Trusk Lough, just outside Ballybofey. However, on arrival at the site the clouds had rolled in and as is often the case with astronomy it become a waiting game! I spent the time waiting for it to clear, setting up the shot while taking in the sound of the ducks and the water lapping on the stones. 

“Then at approximately 9pm, one hour after arrival, the skies opened and the heavens were revealed. During the first few exposures I could see that the shot I had in my mind’s eye was going to work out. The bright and dense starlight of the Milky Way was reflecting off the clam lake water and contrasting with the silhouettes of the surrounding Finn Valley landscapes. Yet another fantastic night under the Donegal Skies,” Brendan said.

The LYIT PhD student has had an interest in astronomy since childhood.

His talent in astrophotography saw his photographs of Aurora Borealis, better known as the Northern Lights, displayed across national and international media last January.

Several of Brendan’s photographs have been used on the BBC flagship astronomy programme, The Sky at Night, presented by the late Sir Patrick Moore, and a number were shortlisted for last year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year Award.

To see of Brendan’s fabulous photographs of the night skies go to donegalskies.com.

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Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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