An innovative ‘Puffersphere’ display created by an Armagh Observatory and Planetarium summer intern was unveiled in the Planetarium exhibition space this month. Titled ‘Observatories of the World,’ the spherical exhibit was created by Daniella Belo, a pupil at St Patrick’s College in Dungannon, during her participation in the Nuffield Placement Programme.
Presented in the form of an interactive earth globe, the exhibit features buttons displaying the location of and information about some of the most important historical and modern telescope across the world, including those in Antarctica. The piece also showcases the role played by Armagh Observatory and Planetarium in the development of modern astronomy, along with its important contribution to international research.
Each year, the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium offers summer research internships to high-school pupils via the research placement scheme run by the Nuffield Foundation. This year, the organisation also invited students to contribute to its education and outreach activities.
As part of the programme, two pupils were given the opportunity to data map the distribution of gas in the Milky Way, whilst third student, Daniella, was tasked with producing a new planetarium exhibition about historic and modern astronomical observatories around the world.
Daniella says, “I am very thankful to Armagh Observatory and Planetarium and to the Nuffield Foundation for giving me the opportunity to undertake this summer research internship.
“I have always had a keen interest in STEM subjects and have learned a tremendous amount in the process. The Planetarium is the oldest in operation across the UK and Ireland, and it was an honour to be given the responsibility of developing a new exhibition for such an iconic facility.”
In addition to Danielle, students Eiméar Scullion, from St Joseph’s Grammar School and Dylan Garvey from Abbey CBS Grammar School, also took part in the programme under the supervision of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium PhD student, Kerem Osman Çubuk.
Marc Sarzi, Head of Research at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium explains, “We were delighted to reintroduce our summer research internship in collaboration with the Nuffield Foundation.
“As Northern Ireland’s public face of space and astronomy, our Planetarium is a rich repository of scientific information, and it is important to us that this is made accessible to help inspire STEM leaders of the future.
“What Eiméar and Dylan have achieved is significant, as the dense gas they had been studying is the very material from which on average one new star is born each year in our galaxy. Equally, Daniella has been incredibly creative in finding an innovative way to showcase historic and modern astronomical observatories around the globe.”
Anna Monaghan, STEM NI STEM Ambassador Programme Manager, adds, “It was a pleasure to partner with Armagh Observatory and Planetarium on this year’s summer research internship programme.
“As an independent foundation, we aim to advance educational opportunity and social well-being and it was fantastic to see the output from Daniella, Eiméar and Dylan. It is our hope that the experience will inspire them to pursue a career in STEM.”
To find out more about Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, visit: https://www.armagh.space