Armagh Planetarium celebrates its 50th anniversary


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The ARMAGH Planetarium is offering free admission tomorrow afternoon so everyone can join in as the celebrations for its 50th anniversary begin.

Already this week there was a “Women in Science” event and special school projects.

Director Michael Burton hosted special guest Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell and a number of industry experts, political leaders and educators.

Dame Jocelyn is the highly acclaimed astrophysicist from Northern Ireland, credited with “one of the most significant scientific achievements of the 20th century” when, as a graduate student, she discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967 – one year before the launch of the planetarium.

The discovery was recognized by the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Dame Jocelyn’s father was the architect of the planetarium and as a doctoral student, when she first visited the new building, she asked then director Sir Patrick Moore to show her the constellation Vulpecula (“little fox”).

It was this constellation where she had detected the first pulsar, a few weeks before.

“I am honored and delighted to welcome Jocelyn to his home in Co Armagh for this important anniversary,” said Professor Burton.

“She embodies the passion we all share for space. For everything we know and everything we have yet to discover.

“The planetarium welcomes more than 50,000 people of all ages every year, eager to learn more about the cosmos and our role in it.

“… On May 1, 1968, Dr Eric Lindsay’s dream of having a planetarium next to the Armagh Observatory of which he was the director came true.

“His drive and commitment to providing a place where everyone could learn about astronomy and space, made an impression on the government and advice and funding was secured. “


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Arline J. Mercier

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