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Research Environment

Technical equipment at Armagh Observatory, which is used primarily for numerical analysis, computing and data reduction, is funded mostly by the PPARC and partly by the DCAL. Computer facilities are excellent and include a Starlink node comprising some 30 Linux-based personal workstations, 3 Compaq Alpha servers, and a range of peripherals including laser printers, colour printers, tape drives and scanners. In addition, 6 Alpha-based systems and an 8-CPU Origin2000 are used for computationally intensive research projects (solar system dynamics, stellar atmospheres and 3-D numerical magneto-hydrodynamics). The internal network has a bandwidth of 100Mbps. The external network, which is connected to the Joint Academic Network (JANET), currently has a bandwidth of 512kbps. Following the establishment of a Tertiary Education Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) for Northern Ireland, probably within the next two years, it is expected that this will be increased to at least 2Mbps.

Armagh Observatory staff regularly receive awards of telescope time on national and international facilities, including satellites such as the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), and the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE), and frequently obtain research grants from the PPARC and other grant awarding bodies. The Observatory is also eligible to receive grants from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Within the next five years, with the support of earmarked funds from the DCAL, the Observatory will also gain priority access to the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), a large (10-metre class) telescope located at the Sutherland Observatory, an outstation of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) on the Karoo Plateau in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa.

Closer to home, it is expected that work to conserve and preserve the historic telescopes and telescope domes at Armagh will be completed within the next several years with partnership support from both the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the DCAL. The HLF project (`Conservation of Historic Telescopes and Domes of Armagh Observatory', Reference HF-00-00310) will bring the Observatory's own telescopes (an 18-inch reflector and a 10-inch refractor) back into use for public viewing and student training, and will restore the historically important domes and listed buildings in which they are housed.


next up previous contents
Next: Staff Up: Astronomy at Armagh Previous: Organizational Structure   Contents
meb@star.arm.ac.uk