Georgian Day Tours: A Great Success

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Armagh Observatory reports great interest, enjoyment and learning amongst the approximately 35 adults and children who participated in its programme of two free, two-hour tours of the Observatory, Astropark and Human Orrery on Georgian Day, Saturday 29th November.

Visitors were guided through the Astropark, a stroll through the Universe all the way to the Big Bang around 14 billion years ago, and then on a tour of the Georgian Grade A listed main building which included an exhibition covering the development of astronomy from Georgian times right up to the present day. Here there was an opportunity to see the oldest telescope in the world still in its original dome. The tours culminated with an explanation of the Human Orrery, just to the south of the main Observatory, the first outdoor exhibit of its kind in the world.

2014 represents the 225th anniversary of the founding of the Armagh Observatory by Archbishop Richard Robinson, in 1789. The 1791 Act of the Irish Parliament "Settling and Preserving a Public Observatory and Museum in the City of Armagh, for Ever", marked the culmination of Archbishop Robinson's contributions to establishing new academic institutions and buildings in the City of Armagh. Occurring at the end of the Age of Enlightenment and on the cusp of the modern scientific era, the Act set the Observatory on a trajectory that has kept it at the frontiers of modern astronomy throughout its 225 years.

The inventions, discoveries and publications of the Observatory's staff over this time, and the scientific instruments, artefacts and archives in the Observatory's Library and astronomical museum collection, can be used to explain the developement of the whole of modern astronomy as part of the heritage of this unique Robinson institution, one that has been at the forefront of modern astronomical progress throughout its history.

Among comments from visitors who participated in these 2014 Georgian Day tours of Armagh Observatory were: "This is a hidden gem. We live in Portadown and were only vaguely aware of its existence and purpose." ... "Highly enjoyable and nicely paced"; and "Very well explained. Great access."

Images from these tours are available here.

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

Last Revised: 2014 December 1st