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November 22nd 2022

Moonlit Stone Circles - UPDATE

Quick update, I recently had a couple of photo shoots from Beaghmore Stone Circles over the last month, the first was a moonlit shoot and the second being a Leonid meteor watch. I have a few images and star trails from the former shoot worth posting however I'm holding back on doing any website reports yet as I intend on doing a few more photo shoots before Christmas then compile several shoots into the one report. It's difficult to believe it will soon be the end of the 2022, I've already made my annual end of year video presentation detailing my best sky and nature highlights of the year, this will be online by late December.

I'm also upgrading my drone to the new DJI Mavic 3 Classic for Christmas, this drone offers longer battery life, greater range and a superb Hassleblad large 4/3rds sensor. I will post more about this closer to the time, I will likely upload a few images of the drone on here over Christmas however keep a close eye on my youtube channel for new videos soon. In the meantime here's an image of me standing within the stone circles observing the Moon and planet Jupiter. With luck I will get a few more shoots in soon.

Nightskyhunter Interview On 'Limitless Pursuits' Website - NEWS

Just a quick update to let you know that Nightskyhunter has been featured on 'Limitless Pursuits' website featuring an article about my passion for the sky. The magazine contacted me asking if I would like to take part, which I did, after all the website is an extremely inspiring place featuring interviews with Snow Boarders, Athletes, Parkour champions etc. The interview begins with the event which sparked my interest in the night sky then evolves into talk about my first telescopes and storm chasing. Check out the full article HERE.

Nightskyhunter On Discover Ireland Tourism Advert - NEWS

Check out the new range of videos by 'Discover Ireland' promoting various regions of the country. In this particular promotional video for the Sperrins called 'Stars And Stones In The Sperrin Mountains' I've had the privilege of taking part in the production. I spent the day and night with the film crew earlier in the year while I did photography and astronomical observing at Beaghmore Stone Circles and OM Dark Sky Park & Observatory in Davagh Forest. I really like this promo video because of the way it was filmed. The crew where from Dublin and were fantastic to work with, very friendly, creative and professional, I was really impressed by the way they worked together.

Stunning Morning Fog Inversion With Glory Over Cookstown - NEW REPORT

Cookstown Fog Inversion

October 18th 2022, in the midst of a period of poor weather, and eager to get my drone in the air for some much needed photography, I targeted the only settled day associated with high pressure, light winds, and good sunshine. The forecast also mentioned fog, by late morning fog conditions were perfect, I drove outside Cookstown and got the drone in the air, when it rose above the fog I was treated to a spectacular view of an extensive fog inversion with sunlit cotton cloud tops, bright sunshine and blue skies. Projecting through the inversion was the solitary form of the chimney belonging to Cookstown Cement Factory, this scene made for an epic morning aerial photo shoot with several surprise Glorys on a tsunami of fog. One page report with 13 images and 1 video clip. - REPORT.

Ballintoy Sea Stacks Milky Way & Vivid Airglow With Taurid Meteor - NEW REPORT

Ballintoy Milky Way & Airglow Report

August 31st 2022 was the last night shoot of Summer before the Autumn season began to make its presence known. I teamed up with two photography friends and spent the night at Ballintoy on the Co. Antrim coast. It was a beautiful clear dark and tranquil night, we got treated to a surprise aurora, the most vivid airglow we have ever seen, Milky Way structure and a beautiful Taurid meteor with a 20 degree long tail, all this in the company of the 50 million year old sea stacks and arch as airglow turned the smooth ocean green. One page report with 7 images. - REPORT.

Milky Way, Armagh Viaduct, Portglenone Sunflowers, Late Season NLCs, Perseids, Moonlit Mist & Starlink G3-3 Placeholder - NEW REPORT

August Night Shoots 2022 - New Report

Detailed image report covering various night sky shoots captured during August 2022. Two nights of Perseid meteor watching, telescopic observations, Messier objects, comet hunting, moonlit mist, Armagh viaduct with Milk Way, a moonlit shoot at Portglenone sunflower field with planets and Milky Way scenes (surreal experience), rare late season Noctilucent Clouds (new personal record) and a UFO sighting which we identified the next day as a Starlink G3-3 Placeholder which was one of the most bizarre phenomena we had ever seen in our lives. All of these adventures are detailed here. One page report with 19 images. - REPORT.

Emyvale Night Time Lightning Show - NEW REPORT

Emyvale Lightning Show - Aug 14th 2022 - New Report

August 14th 2022, after a week long heat wave Ireland experienced a dramatic thunderstorm outbreak when cold and warm air masses clashed with big CAPE and strong wind shear. The result was hours of elevated thunderstorms which began at 5am in the morning in my area and again in the afternoon. However the highlight was a huge highly sheared suspected supercell storm which erupted over Co. Mayo in the evening which produced constant lightning for over four hours. My mates and I arranged a late evening chase to Emyvale near the border and got treated to a fantastic dusk lightning show with regular flashes lighting up the sky for an hour before the target storm went silent. A thrilling late Summer storm chase!. One page report with 9 images and 1 video clip. - REPORT.

Rare Structured Supercell Thunderstorm Over Lough Foyle! - NEW REPORT

Lough Foyle Supercell Thunderstorm Report

July 24th 2022 turned out to be a dream storm chase when a severe thunderstorm outlook was issued by CW with 900 CAPE, LIs of -3 and 40 knots DLS. I teamed up with chaser Colleen Webb, we targeted the Co. Antrim storms which turned out to be a grey mess. We were about to give up when through several chance decisions we made our way to the north coast where better solar heating and discrete cells were rapidly forming. We arrived at Gortmore Viewing Point to be greeted by a rare classic supercell thunderstorm over the W side of Lough Foyle. The structure was amazing with mesocyclone, striation rings, vault, wall cloud, RFD slot and accompanied by thunder and lightning. After 15 years chasing I finally captured a structured surface based supercell over N. Ireland! One page report with 26 images and 2 video clips. - REPORT.

HP Sunsets, Lough Fea Funnel Cloud & Ballintoy Sea Stacks Aurora Borealis - NEW REPORT

Ballintoy Sea Stacks Aurora

March 2022 turned out to be a pleasant and active month for sky action and perfect Spring weather thanks to strong high pressure which brought fine sunny days and clear nights. HP haze and Saharan dust resulted in beautiful sunsets when the solar disk was visible to the naked eye. Large sunspots also appeared on the sun with M-class flares unfurling CMEs. I also captured a surprise funnel cloud from Lough Fea which lasted for over 20 min's making it the longest duration vortex I've ever seen. The climax of this month was the all-night aurora watch at Ballintoy with Paul Martin on the 31st when we got rewarded with a photogenic G1 aurora during the pre-dawn hours in perfect dark skies from the famous sea stacks. One page report with 16 images and 1 video clip. - REPORT.

N. Ireland Storm Chasing Image Reports - Archive

N. Ireland Storm Chasing

Astronomy is not the only subject I'm interested in, check out my N. Ireland Storm Chasing section and view the chase reports and images which detail not only storms but other phenomena such as a moonbows, noctilucent clouds, aurora displays and exciting nature related photo shoots.

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Martin McKenna