Frequently Asked Questions
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For more information regarding Armagh Planetarium please contact us using the information listed below. Please note all Digital Theatre shows must be pre-booked by telephone.

Visiting Armagh Planetarium

Q. What time are your shows?
A. Please visit our show times page for details of show times.

Q. Can I book online?
A. Unfortunately this is not possible at present. Please call us on 028 3752 3689 to book your seats.

Q. When are your telescope nights?
A. The Planetarium holds an Open Night every month in the autumn and winter. These include telescope observing when the weather permits. Please call us on 028 3752 3689 for dates or see our Events page.

Q. I’ve named a star after a family member, if I come to the Planetarium can you show it to me?
A. We are sorry but this not possible.


Digital Theatre Shows

Q. What are your shows about?
A. Please visit shows now playing for details of our current programme.

Q. Are your shows suitable for people suffering from epilepsy?
A. There are no reports of the shows we present ever triggering an epileptic attack in a member of the audience. However as sufferers’ susceptibilities many vary from individual to individual we cannot absolutely guarantee their suitability. If you have a concern please exercise your own discretion.

Q. Do your shows discuss the Big Bang Theory or evolution?
A. Our shows present the accepted scientific views on matters such as the origin of the Universe, the planet Earth and life so they will cover these topics when they need to.


Q. We’re visiting the Planetarium but my child is afraid of the dark, can you leave the lights on during the show?
A. Unfortunately this not possible. However we run shows specifically for small people and there are no periods of prolonged darkness during them. Please see our shows now playing for details.

 

Astronomy

Q. I’d like to buy a telescope, can you give me any advice?
A. There is an enormous range of telescopes available; unfortunately many sold in non-specialist shops are very poor quality. To be honest any new telescope sold for under £50 is unlikely to be worthwhile for astronomical use. A reasonable telescope on a high quality mount (which is very important) is likely to cost £200 or more which is a big investment unless you are sure you are going to be observing regularly. If you are completely new to astronomy why not invest in a pair of binoculars instead? These tend to be cheaper than telescopes and are useful for observing terrestrial objects too.

We suggest that you check out the local astronomical societies; they have many enthusiastic and knowledgeable members who would be happy to offer advice on telescopes:
Northern Ireland Amateur Astronomy Society 
Irish Astronomical Society.

Q. I’d like to name a star after a loved one. Can you help me?
A. There are indeed companies which claim they can name a star for you and they will charge you a fee to do this.  This business is completely unofficial and is not supported by the organization which names celestial objects, the International Astronomical Union. These companies do not have the right to name or rename stars, no matter how official the company’s name sounds.
The star will be a very dim one, impossible to see without a telescope (the bright ones all have names already). The company may indeed use the same star for more than one customer.  The name has no official status and will not be used by astronomers or appear on any normal star chart.
We do not support these organizations. If you really do want to go ahead and do business with them, please be aware that that it is just a bit of fun and basically all you are paying for is a nice certificate and keepsake. Visit the IAU website for more information on buying star names

Q. Can you see the Moon during the day?
A. Yes, the Moon can often be seen during the day. Our Moon is the second brightest object in the sky after the Sun. It is so bright that it casts clear shadows at night and can be so bright you can read by it. The Moon orbits the Earth, making a complete circle roughly once a month. Over each month sometimes its orbit puts it in the sky at the same time as the Sun, that is, during the day.  If the Moon is above the horizon it can be seen without any problem if you know where to look most days in the month.

Q. Can you please send me information about space?
A. That is quite a broad question, we suggest you consult the following websites:
Heavens Above, where and when to see satellites: http://www.heavens-above.com/
Space.com, what’s new in space: www.space.com
Universe today: http://www.universetoday.com/
An excellent on-line textbook: http://www.astronomynotes.com/index.html
Astronomy picture of the Day: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/
Encyclopedia Astronautica: http://www.astronautix.com/
Space Technology: http://www.braeunig.us/space/index.htm
Your local library will also stock many useful books.

Q. I have been researching astronomy for years and have made an important discovery about the Universe. Can you check it and publish it?
A. Armagh Planetarium is not really in the business of publishing original research no matter how interesting or important. We suggest that you write up your findings as a paper and submit it for publication to a journal such as Nature or Physics Review Letters.

Q.Can u plz tell me what planets could support human life? Plz give reasons for the answer! I need to know before Friday!
A. This sounds rather like a homework question. We could tell you but that would spoil the fun of finding out for yourself!