The Armagh Observatory is a Statutory Body with powers described by the 1791 Act of the Irish Parliament entitled ``An Act for Settling and Preserving a Public Observatory and Museum in the City of Armagh For Ever'', an Amendment of 1938 (``The University and Collegiate and Scientific Institutions Act [Northern Ireland], 1938''), and the more recent (1995 No. 1622) ``The Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (Northern Ireland) Order 1995''.
The Observatory is managed by a Director who reports to (a) a Management Committee which meets three times per year, and (b) annual meetings of the Board of Governors. The Management Committee (15 members) and Board of Governors (15 members) are overlapping constituencies containing representatives from a wide range of interested parties, including the Church of Ireland (the Chairman of the Board is the Most Revd Lord Eames, Archbishop of Armagh), the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), the Queen's University of Belfast (QUB), the UK astronomical community (e.g. UK universities and the Astronomer Royal), the PPARC, the DCAL, and other bodies. Core funding is provided by grant-in-aid from the DCAL (formerly the Department of Education Northern Ireland, DENI), while additional research funding is obtained from bodies such as the PPARC, the British Council, the Leverhulme Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the European Union (EU), and other grant awarding organizations. The current membership of the Management Committee and the Board of Governors is summarized in Appendix .
The Armagh Planetarium was founded in 1968 by Dr Eric M. Lindsay, seventh Director of the Armagh Observatory, as the main public outreach of the Observatory. Since its inception the Planetarium has operated as an independent institution, the first and perhaps best known Director being the writer and broadcaster Dr (now Sir) Patrick Moore. The present Director of the Planetarium is Dr Tom Mason.
Whereas the Armagh Observatory is primarily an astronomical research institute with an organization and infrastructure geared to maintain its position as an internationally recognized centre of research excellence, the Armagh Planetarium is primarily an educational establishment, seeking to attract visitors to Armagh and to educate and inform visitors of all age groups. The Planetarium has both a tourism and educational role; it is one of Armagh City and District's principal visitor attractions, and one of the best known tourist destinations in Northern Ireland.
Senior management responsibility for both the Armagh Observatory and the Armagh Planetarium rests with the Management Committee and Board of Governors. The two organizations share a senior administrator.