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Children from Mount St. Catherine's Primary School, Armagh, Star at International Conference on Light Pollution

On Friday 18th September, boys and girls from Mount St. Catherine's Primary School, Armagh, surprised the participants of the International Conference "Light Pollution and Its Impact: The Ninth European Symposium for the Protection of the Night Sky", with a live performance of music, poetry, art and dance. The children's contribution, held at the Market Place conference centre, was called "The Dragon's Egg", the title resonating with ancient Irish mythology associated with seeing comets in the sky.

This important contribution to one of the two education parallel sessions of the meeting was made possible through an innovative collaboration involving the school (teachers Anne Hart, Brenda Campbell and Briege Delaney), members of the Armagh Rhymers (Dara Vallely, Peter Shortall and Steve Lally), writer John McAllister and astronomer Miruna Popescu from Armagh Observatory, coordinator of the series of all-Ireland 2009 International Year of Astronomy activities.

The students wrote poems about stars and light pollution on the back of the "Conjunction over Armagh" postcard that had been handed out to Symposium participants as part of their welcome packs to Armagh. The biggest surprise, however, was a musical and dancing performance during the lunch break on the first morning of the meeting. The children also displayed their paintings inspired by the night sky, created during the Universe Awareness (UNAWE) Astro-Art Fun workshop led by Miruna Popescu.

The international light-pollution conference was part of a year-long series of Armagh Observatory initiatives developed for the UN International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009). For more information about the meeting which was organized together with members of the Irish Light Pollution Awareness Campaign and the Belfast-based Irish Astronomical Association, visit the conference website.

Support from the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Ireland's "Discover Science and Education" initiative, the Armagh City and District Council, and the Royal Irish Academy is gratefully acknowledged. For more information about the programme of activities organized for the International Year of Astronomy check astronomy2009.ie.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Miruna Popescu at the Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG. Tel.: 028-3752-2928; FAX: 028-3752-7174; mdpat signarm.ac.uk; URL: http://star.arm.ac.uk/. Images are available from: here.

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Last Revised: 2009 September 24th
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