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Armagh Planetarium welcomes UK and International delegates to global research conference

Pictured l to r are Louise DeVoy, Curator of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, Dr Rok Nežič, PHD Student at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, Professor Michael Burton, Director of the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, Aaron Black, PHD Student at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium and Heather Alexander, Senior Education Officer at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium

Globally recognised astronomical research centre, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, recently played host to research networking project, ‘Observatory Sites and Networks since 1780’. The initiative, which united UK and international scholars who research observatory histories, conducted its final two-day workshop in Armagh on September 8 and 9.

The project was led by Royal Museums Greenwich and National Museums Scotland, together with project partners, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, Cambridge University Library, and the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. It was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Last week’s event at Armagh Observatory saw the fourth and final workshop in the Observatory Networks Series take place, with delegates gathering to consider how contemporary networks can be created among historic observatories, to facilitate the sharing of ideas and expertise to maximise use and understanding of important sites of astronomical heritage.

Commencing on September 1 2021, ‘Observatory Sites and Networks since 1780’ was inspired by the upcoming 350th anniversary of the Royal Observatory Greenwich, which is set to take place in 2025.

The project was comprised of four workshops, intended to serve as a forum for UK and international scholars who research observatory histories, along with curators, educators, astronomers, and others who work within relevant sites.

Heather Alexander, Senior Education Officer at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, said: “It was an honour to welcome ‘Observatory Sites and Networks since 1780’ to Armagh in collaboration with Royal Museums Greenwich and our other partners.

“The project provided an incredibly important forum for global experts to discuss observatory histories, and as the oldest scientific institution in Northern Ireland and the longest continuously operating astronomical research institute in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Armagh Observatory is a fitting venue for such vital discourse.”

Professor Michael Burton, Director at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium Delivers a Speech at the Observatory Sites and Networks since 1780 Conference

Conference speakers included: Professor Michael Burton, Director of the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, who discussed UNESCO aspirations at Armagh Observatory, and Heather Alexander, Senior Education Officer at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, who presented an exhibition interpretation of Armagh Observatory in the Planetarium display space.

Dr Louise Devoy, Senior Curator of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, added: “It was a pleasure to bring Observatory Sites and Networks since 1780 to Armagh and we thank Armagh Observatory and Planetarium for hosting our fourth and final workshop.

“The project has helped facilitate valuable discussion amongst global experts, and as we approach the 350 th anniversary of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, we hope that its outcomes will inform the best use of our most significant sites of astronomical heritage.”

To find out more about Observatory Sites and Networks since 1780, visit: https://www.rmg.co.uk/collections/research/observatory-sites-networks-1780

To find out more about Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, visit: https://www.armagh.space

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