The results of the Observatory's research programmes into Stellar Astrophysics, the Sun, Solar System Astronomy, and the Earth's Climate, encompass areas of astronomy that promise to have a significant impact on our lives over the next few decades, and to provide lifelong learning opportunities and increased public understanding of science for all.
The 20-30 astronomers of graduate or postdoctoral status who work at the Observatory come to Northern Ireland from many countries around the world, and are actively involved in many international partnerships and collaborations. Together they generate a wide range of international contacts, a significant level of publicity for Armagh City and District, and a strong, positive image of Northern Ireland both home and abroad.
A separate indication of the value of the Observatory's research output is the amount of external research income, raised mostly through a process of competitive grant application and peer review. This is a fluctuating quantity, but the total external grant income for 2000/2001 -- namely £212,000 -- is again a good performance and a substantial fraction of the total DCAL grant-in-aid for the same financial year.
A subset of the total research output of Observatory staff, namely the list of 31 refereed journal publications during 2000, is given in Appendix B. A related subset, namely the list of 75 public and professional presentations delivered by Observatory staff during 2000, is given in Appendix C, while a third subset -- the list of Observatory seminars -- is given in Appendix D.
These examples illustrate some of the routes by which research results are communicated both by and to Observatory staff: through presentations or articles in the local, national or international media; at conferences, seminars and workshops; in books; in refereed scientific publications and journals (some of which nowadays are entirely in electronic form, e.g. The Journal of Astronomical Data); and in a variety of non-refereed publications.
The remainder of this section summarises, under the headings of the Observatory's senior research staff and associates, some of the principal research results obtained during 2000 by these staff and their colleagues.