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Observatory to Provide Free Summer Evening Tours

Have you ever walked the Astropark? Have you ever been to the edge of the Universe? Have you ever seen a Human Orrery? If not, then visit the Armagh Observatory Grounds, Astropark and Human Orrery this summer. The Armagh Observatory will be hosting some special Tuesday evening tours as part of International Heliophysical Year 2007/2008 and with support from the DCAL's Skills and Science programme.

The action begins on Tuesday 10 July at 7pm, and will be followed by three more tours on 24 July, 14 August and 28 August. Everybody is welcome to attend these guided tours. They provide an opportunity to enjoy a walk through the Observatory Grounds, Astropark and Human Orrery, as well as to learn about the Earth and the Sun, and the other planets, stars, and galaxies.


View of Armagh Observatory from the south-east, showing the Human Orrery in the foreground and the Robinson Dome on the left.
The tours also provide an opportunity to admire the wonderful architecture of the historic main building; to see the historic telescopes; and to stroll through the Astropark in the Observatory grounds. You will be shown how to use the new Human Orrery, one of the first of its kind in the world, and to go around the Sun like a planet and discover the positions of planets in the night sky. See the City of Armagh from our modern stone calendar and, if the weather is clear, see the Sun through the Observatory's special solar telescope.

For those wishing to learn more about astronomy, the tours on 24 July and 28 August will conclude with an illustrated talk on the Sun given by Dr Miruna Popescu, and a question-and-answer session in the Observatory library.

The Armagh Observatory is a modern astronomical research institute with a rich heritage, the oldest scientific institution in Northern Ireland. Founded by Archbishop Richard Robinson around 1790, its principal function is to carry out frontline scientific research in astronomy and related sciences. In addition, it maintains the longest meteorological series from a single site in the UK and Ireland, and seeks to promote public understanding of a wide range of science, and of astronomy in particular.

This programme of Tuesday evening tours follows the very successful European Observatories Open Doors day, held at the Observatory on Sunday 10 of June, which was also part of International Heliophysical Year 2007. To participate in one of the four tours, meet at the bottom of the Observatory Drive, close to the Courthouse, before 7 pm. Car parking is available halfway up the Observatory Drive.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Miruna Popescu or John McFarland at the Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG. Tel.: 028-3752-2928; FAX: 028-3752-7174;mdpat signarm.ac.uk.

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Last Revised: 2007 July 2nd
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