Armagh Observatory, 23rd February 2016: Armagh Observatory is hosting two free public events on St Patrick´s Day Thursday 17th March. At 11:15 there will be a free public lecture held in the Studio Theatre, The Market Place, Armagh: "The First Stars and Black Holes in the Early Universe". The lecture will be aimed at the general public and will be given by Dr Jorick Vink, Research Astronomer at the Observatory and Acting Head of Armagh Planetarium. The morning public lecture will be followed by a free St Patrick´s Day Tour of Armagh Observatory and its Grounds, Astropark and Human Orrery. Explanations of the Observatory´s new Sonic Art exhibit "aroundNorth" will also be provided. The tour will start at 2.30pm and end around 4.30pm

Professor Mark Bailey, Director of the Observatory, said: "In each of the past few years the Observatory has hosted a free public lecture on the morning of St Patrick´s Day, and after the Parade a free guided tour of the Observatory and its Grounds, Astropark and Human Orrery. This is a great opportunity to hear about some of the most recent discoveries in astronomy while learning something about the Armagh Observatory, which has a unique heritage in astronomy stretching back more than 225 years."

Dr Vink, who has worked at Armagh for the past eight years, graduated from Utrecht University in the Netherlands in 2000, after having spent a year at NASA´s Goddard Space Flight Center, in the USA. He then worked at Imperial College London, and was a Research Councils UK Fellow at Keele University before coming to Armagh. His main research interests are in the field of massive stars, focusing on the origin and evolution of the most massive stars in the Universe.

The subject of his St Patrick´s Day talk involves one of the most fascinating areas of modern astronomy: the evolution of the first massive stars in the cosmos and the formation of massive black holes similar is size to the ones recently announced as the source of the first detected gravitational waves.

The tour of the Observatory and its Grounds, Astropark and Human Orrery will begin outside the main Observatory building at 2.30pm. Visitors should note that because much of the tour will be outside, they should wear appropriate clothing in case of cold or inclement weather.

Those who wish to attend the free public lecture in the Market Place Theatre should contact the Box Office on 028-3752-1821 or online at For the free guided tour, please write, telephone or e-mail: Mrs Aileen McKee, Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh BT61 9DG; Tel: 028-3752-2928; E-mail: Access to the Observatory is from College Hill by the driveway shared with the Armstrong Primary School, close to the Courthouse and opposite the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum.

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


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Last Revised: 2016 March 15th