Armagh Observatory and Planetarium has today (Tuesday) launched a public consultation on plans for its proposed state-of-the-art Science and Education Park Redevelopment Project.
Throughout the consultation period, which will run from Tuesday, 15 – Friday, November 18, the public are invited to visit Armagh Planetarium during its opening hours to view and submit feedback on concept designs for the future development.
A survey will be available online and facilities to complete it will be provided for those who choose to do so onsite.
The consultation comes as Armagh Observatory and Planetarium seeks to realise a future vision for an enhanced visitor destination, which requires long term capital investment.
The demand for education and visitor programmes currently outweighs the organisation’s capacity, but this vision goes beyond just doing more of the same, it is about creating a resource with regional significance and global reach.
Having reviewed numerous options, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium has created a concept for the redevelopment of its site, maximising connections between a new centre and its Grade A listed Observatory, to facilitate further public engagement with its heritage, and to safeguard and preserve it for future generations.
It is anticipated that the redevelopment concept will see Armagh Observatory and Planetarium become a regional hub for shared state of the art data visualisation facilities, including an immersive visitor experience. The transformation will also allow the organisation to enhance the public dissemination of science and to deliver STEM Education.
Professor Michael Burton, Director at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, said: “In 2016, I moved here from Australia to oversee Armagh Observatory and Planetarium’s transformation and am delighted to see it coming to fruition. I was attracted by the organisation’s rich heritage and by its reputation as a world-renowned centre for astronomy.
“There is nowhere else quite like Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, with its deep astronomical heritage and its Observatory’s record of frontline research. Of course, there is also its famous Planetarium, where stories of discovery are told.
“I am excited by the immense potential of realising the synergies of the Observatory and Planetarium on the same site, to create a centre for communicating science and explaining the wonders of the cosmos in an enthralling way.
“We hope that this will be a place where we can educate in an entertaining manner and also inform on some of the great challenges of our era. In doing so, we aim to contribute to the local community and help to stimulate the local and regional economies.”
Armagh Observatory has been conducting frontline astronomy since 1790. It has a remarkable scientific heritage with six generations of astronomical telescopes inside. The Planetarium has been educating the public about the planets and stars in its famous star dome for over 50 years.
Armagh Observatory and Planetarium aims to gain approval of its business case early next year in anticipation of future funding opportunities.
To take part in the consultation, visit: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/AOPFuture