From Earth to the Universe at Armagh County Museum

An exhibition of astronomical posters featuring some of the best astronomical images ever taken will be opened at 8.00pm in the Armagh County Museum on Monday 30th November 2009, and will remain on display until 9th January 2010. The travelling exhibition "From Earth To The Universe" (FETTU) is one of the Armagh Observatory and Armagh County Museum's contributions to the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA 2009). The Belfast-based Irish Astronomical Association has also worked closely together with the Armagh Observatory and the all-Ireland node for IYA2009 to display the exhibition at various locations in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Dr Miruna Popescu of Armagh Observatory, who designed the exhibition, said, "I am so pleased that the Armagh County Museum has agreed to display this exhibition. It is a wonderful venue and a great advertisement for astronomers worldwide. The exhibition helps to explain what astronomers here in Armagh and elsewhere are up to. The images open our eyes to the vastness of the Universe and they are simply beautiful!" During the week beginning Monday 30th November 2009 Miruna will also provide free Astro-Art Fun workshops in the Museum for local schoolchildren.

The travelling FETTU exhibition was launched on St. Patrick's Day 2009 in St. Patrick's Trian, Armagh, as part of celebrations for IYA 2009 and UK National Science Week. It has since been displayed at nearly twenty venues across the island of Ireland for periods ranging from days up to several weeks at a time, and at many libraries and visitor centres throughout Northern Ireland. This will be the last opportunity to view the exhibition during the International Astronomy Year.

The Director of the Armagh Observatory, Professor Mark Bailey, said "The exhibition, which has been displayed at so many different locations in the past year, has provided astronomers at Armagh with new opportunities to engage with the general public and to highlight the important on-going collaborations and synergy in education and learning that exist between the various organizations supported by the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL)." During IYA 2009 the Observatory has also installed a number of new interpretation panels based on the FETTU images in the Observatory's Astropark, a special scale model of the solar system and wider Universe in the Observatory Grounds, a leisure facility that is free and accessible to all visitors.

The UN-backed International Year of Astronomy 2009 has been a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture. It marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first use of the telescope for astronomical purposes and the birth of modern astronomy, and gives people the world over the chance to get involved in this fascinating science and experience the wonders of the day and night time sky. Over 140 countries have joined in holding regional, national, and global events throughout 2009. IYA 2009 is not only allowing people to observe first-hand some of the amazing celestial bodies that make up our Universe, but has provided a wide variety of other activities including touring astronomy exhibitions, virtual blogs, and interactions with practising astronomers. Full details of the all-Ireland IYA2009 activities can be viewed at http://astronomy2009.ie/.

Major contributors to these activities throughout the island of Ireland have been Ireland's science promotion programme "Discover Science and Engineering", the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure through core funding to the Armagh Observatory, the Northern Ireland Space Office at Armagh Planetarium, the European Southern Observatory, the Armagh Observatory and NUI Galway, as well as many groups of amateur astronomers and volunteers.

Links to some high-resolution FETTU images can be obtained from the Armagh Observatory web-site here. Image credits should read: Miruna Popescu, "From Earth To The Universe", IYA2009.

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

Last Revised: 2009 November 18th