From Earth to the Universe –
Astronomy Exhibition and Talks in Omagh Library

Poster

Poster

FETTU Image of the Andromeda Nebula and
on display on the Observatory’s Library wall.

Libraries NI, in partnership with Armagh Observatory, is providing wall space for a stunning exhibition of amazing astronomical images called "From Earth To The Universe" (FETTU) in libraries across Northern Ireland for members of the public to call in and see.

The exhibition is a development of the Armagh Observatory’s contribution to the international FETTU project, and in turn to the European Universe Awareness (EU-UNAWE) programme. It is being displayed on a rotating basis in libraries throughout Northern Ireland. The objective is to inspire visitors, both young and old, with some of the most dramatic images of modern astronomy and to provide us with a sense of our place in space.

Omagh Library will be hosting this exhibition throughout March as part of Creativity Month NI. It will be launched on Friday 1st March with a talk "From Earth to the Universe", given by Libby McKearney, UK Project Manager for the EU Universe Awareness (EU-UNAWE) programme. Her talk will focus on distance, scale and some of the amazing objects in the near Universe shown as part of the FETTU exhibition on display in the library. These stunning exhibition images will take you on a journey through the Universe as seen from our home planet, Earth.

Universe Awareness (UNAWE) is an international astronomy outreach programme with the aim of bringing to a wider audience some of the amazing discoveries of modern astronomy. The European component, EU-UNAWE, provides basic astronomy training to primary-sector teachers, so they can easily use astronomy in different parts of the curriculum. It also develops new astronomy education resources for young children and members of the public, and helps to widen the educational opportunities and understanding of young children in areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Later in the month, on Wednesday 13th March, Omagh Library will host an Intergenerational Talk. This is aimed at older children and the young at heart: lifelong learners and members of the public. The special talk, also part of the Observatory’s and Omagh Library’s contributions to Creativity Month, will be given by Mark Bailey, Director of the Armagh Observatory. The one-hour talk, "Earth’s Place in Space: Bringing 'Heaven' Down to Earth" will begin at 7.00pm and be followed by questions on astronomy and by light refreshments. Admission to the talk is free, but to be sure of a place please book with the Library in advance.

EU-UNAWE follows the same vision as UNAWE. That is, to use the beauty and grandeur of the Universe to inspire young children and encourage them to develop an interest in science and technology. The EU-UNAWE programme also targets social need and aims to introduce children to the idea of global citizenship and tolerance at a crucial stage of their development. This expands their horizons and shows that they are part of a larger European and international community.

Libby McKearney, the Observatory’s EU-UNAWE Project Manager said: "Astronomy has really caught the public imagination in recent years and with its reintroduction into the NI Curriculum it has become very popular in primary schools as part of 'World Around Us'. It is great that the Observatory has been able to work in this way with Libraries NI. The exhibition has such huge educational potential that it will surely inspire many hundreds of young people with its amazing space and ground-based images of the Universe of which we are all a part."

The portable FETTU exhibition is being displayed at selected library venues throughout the year, with a one-hour talk at each venue given by Libby to local P6/P7 pupils from invited primary schools. Her talk draws on the inspiring astronomical images to explain some of the recent discoveries of modern astronomy and to put them in context, guiding the children on a journey through the Universe and towards a much better understanding of the world around us.

Kim Aiken, Learning Development Manager with Libraries NI, is delighted that local libraries will be hosting the exhibition: She said, "This beautiful collection of images will appeal to children and adults alike and is an exciting way to present information about our amazing universe in a way that will really complement the library’s existing information on the topic. It is also wonderful that copies of these images can be downloaded on request from the Armagh Observatory’s website to create your own personal collection of images and posters and your own personalised astronomy exhibition for either indoor or outdoor use. I would like to invite everyone to call in and enjoy this stunning exhibition throughout the month of March and come along to the Intergenerational Talk on Wednesday 13th March at 7.00pm in Omagh Library."

Armagh Observatory and Libraries NI are both supported by the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL). The 2012–2013 travelling FETTU exhibition supports the DCAL Learning Strategy and makes a significant contribution to the Executive’s STEM Strategy. This month’s exhibition also contributes to the DCAL’s Creativity Month. EU-UNAWE is funded through the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement No. 263325.

The exhibition is free to visit throughout the month of March in Omagh Library.

You can contact Omagh Library (1 Spillars Place, Irishtown Road, BT78 1HL) on telephone: 028 8224 4821 or email: omagh.libraryat signlibrariesni.org.uk or go to the Libraries NI website at www.librariesni.org.uk.

For further information on the exhibition, contact Libby McKearney at the Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG. Tel.: 028-3751-2967; 028-3752-2928; lmkat signarm.ac.uk; Website: www.arm.ac.uk and see www.unawe.org.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

* The FETTU project, in which astronomical images largely prepared by professional astronomers during International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) were created to showcase modern astronomy’s most interesting and exciting views of our Universe, was originally a cornerstone of IYA2009.

* The aim of the Observatory’s contribution to this international programme is to present wonderful astronomical images to as wide an audience as possible and in a variety of non-traditional venues such as libraries, museums, theatres, art centres, public parks and other locations. In this way the FETTU project supports the Observatory’s programme of Science in the Community and the international Universe Awareness (UNAWE) programme.

* Versions of some of the Observatory’s FETTU images can also be seen in the form of interpretation panels in the Armagh Observatory Grounds and Astropark and on its Library wall.

Last Revised: 2013 February 26th