Globally recognised astronomical research institute, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, has recommenced its popular two-hour visits for primary school pupils. Led by one of the organisation’s Education team members, each tour will consist of one hour spent in the Dome Theatre, a 30-minute workshop and a 30-minute exhibition tour.
The educational tours will begin with a celestial journey around the Solar System in Armagh Observatory and Planetarium’s unique Dome Theatre. Pupils will then have the opportunity to take part in an ‘Out-of-This-World’ workshop and explore the organisation’s brand-new exhibition area.
Whilst in the Dome Theatre, pupils can choose from a range of dome shows, including ‘Astronaut.’ Narrated by actor Ewan McGregor, the short film examines the trials, tribulations and joys associated with becoming an astronaut, along with the effects of space travel and training on human beings.
In addition to viewing the suite of dome shows, pupils will engage with live, interactive material which can be tailored to their learning objectives. For this, the organisation’s Education team will guide them through the solar system, allowing them to choose which planets they want to visit, to ask questions and to show off their knowledge of space.
Each session in the Dome Theatre finishes with Armagh Observatory and Planetarium’s famous space roller coaster. A favourite element of the visit for many, the short dome show allows students to experience the sensation of being on a rollercoaster.
Helen McLoughlin, Operations Manager at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium said: “I am delighted to welcome primary school pupils from across Northern Ireland to tour our facilities here at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium.
“We are recognised across the globe as a leading centre for research into astronomy and are very much focused on harnessing that invaluable resource to deliver vibrant educational and outreach programmes.
“It is our hope that that by providing compelling, age-appropriate content via our dome shows workshop and exhibition, we might help to inspire the STEM leaders of the future.”
Armagh Observatory and Planetarium is sited in a heritage environment with a rich scientific history. The organisation delivers internationally recognised research in astronomy and related sciences and vibrant educational and outreach programmes for all ages.
Established in 1790 by Archbishop Richard Robinson, the Armagh Observatory is the oldest scientific institution in Northern Ireland and the longest continuously operating astronomical research institute in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Dr Eric Lindsay founded the Armagh Planetarium in 1968. The oldest operating Planetarium in the UK and Ireland, it celebrated 50 years as Northern Ireland’s public face of space and astronomy in May 2018.