Armagh Planetarium is the place to be this summer with activities and theatre shows which are ‘out of this world’. In the Planetarium’s amazing new Digistar 4 Digital Theatre you can relax and experience Earth and beyond. Each show is a memorable experience and with a brand new line-up there is so much to choose from.

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A trillion ice cubes flying in formation: Saturn's rings as you will see them in Ice Worlds (Image credit: Evans and Sutherland)

Our new theatre show “Ice Worlds” is narrated by Emily Watson, a two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Actress. This spectacular full-dome show explores the icy regions of the Earth and Mars and the frigid moons of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune. This is a show full of exciting experiences and fascinating insights. Learn about the delicate balance between ice, water and the existence of life. Witness the birth of an iceberg in the Arctic, observe whales off the Antarctic Peninsula and discover how changes in these environments affect our lives. Beyond Earth we fly over the polar ice caps of Mars and land on freezing Titan, a place so cold that water is as hard as rock and methane flows like water.

Perhaps you want to know what an astronomer is, or maybe be one yourself! Well, today’s astronomer is not the lone observer of past centuries. The “We Are Astronomers” theatre show reveals the global collaboration, technology and dedication required to answer the unresolved questions of the Universe. This show provides a visually stunning tour of contemporary astronomy using beautiful 360° full-dome imagery.

You can experience a rocket launch from inside the human body in “Astronaut” which is narrated by Ewan McGregor. We explore the amazing worlds of inner and outer space and float into the International Space station. ‘Astronaut’ also shows us the perils of space as we subject “Chad” our astronaut test subject to everything that space has to throw at him!

Our children’s show is a great introduction to the wonders of our Solar System. It features the daring exploits of a young girl and boy who make a cardboard rocket so that they can visit the Sun, Moon and the Planets. Take part in the countdown as the young explorers blast off into space and take you on an amazing journey from the planet Mercury, through the icy rings of Saturn to the frozen surface of Pluto and back to Earth using incredible full dome animation.

Maybe you would like to see a Greek star tale brought to life! If so, then our children’s show “Legends of the Night Sky: Perseus and Andromeda” is ideal. Featured in this show are exciting characters such as Pegasus the winged horse and Cetus the sea monster and watch out for the evil gorgon Medusa!

Or if you have little ones then “Little Yellow Star” is the show for you. Produced by Armagh Planetarium, this pre-school show brings us on an adventure through the night sky as Little Yellow Star meets many of the wonderful animals who make up the star patterns. This is a free show designed to introduce pre-school children to the stars and constellations in a fun way and you may even be lucky to receive a balloon constellation after the show in our special workshop!

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"Help! We're being oppressed!" The Emerald Garrison's Star Wars Stormtroopers will be returning to the Planetarium on 2-3 Juliy (Image credit: Armagh Planetarium)

After all that excitement, you can then explore the exhibition areas using the interactive displays to learn more about the cosmos. Take a trip into our Mars room, view the 3D shows or touch the largest meteorite on display in Ireland which at an amazing 4.6 billion years old, is the oldest thing you’ll ever touch. See our scale models of probes such as Viking and Satellites such as the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope.

During the summer months fun workshops will be on offer such as rocket launching. Make your way into our rocket room where you will find all the parts needed to build a rocket, carefully take it outside to our fuel pumps and add the much needed fuel and blast it off from the Planetarium launch pad. Prizes will be on offer for the rockets that travel to infinity and beyond!

If you want to make a rocket, but instead of blasting it off into the unknown take it home, then come into our Scrappy Spacecraft workshop. As you may be aware the Space Shuttles are retiring this summer so this is your opportunity to create a replacement craft to bring astronauts to places such as the International Space Station and perhaps one day even Mars! Get your thinking caps on and let your imaginations run wild whilst you design the future of our space travel.

Fun and informative presentations will also be on offer where you can learn what it’s like to be an astronaut in space, what they eat and how they sleep in zero gravity. Embark on a journey with us to the stars as we explain what exactly a shooting star is and how to identify a space rock. Learn about some of the brave people who have travelled up into space and the types of spacecraft that have made the journey.

If you have the time, you can have a stroll around the Astropark, which displays a scale model of the Universe where visitors can walk through the Solar System into the Milky Way and beyond.

Make the trip to Armagh Planetarium this summer, it’s the next best thing to a trip into space!

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Blasting off to an exciting Summer (Image credit: Armagh Planetarium)

Special Events:

2 and 3 July 2011:

Blasting off the summer programme is a family fun weekend. There will be face painters and some amazing Star Wars Storm Troopers. There will also be theatre shows on offer, but remember to pre-book.

30 and 31 July 2011:

Do you want to be a rocket scientist? Then join Rocket Man extraordinaire Andy Willis who will be launching huge rockets hundreds of feet into the air and attempting to parachute an egg back down to Earth safely. Will he succeed? Come and find out!

27 and 28 August 2011:

Ending our summer programme is our final family fun day before school starts back. Our usual fun space related activities will be running on this final weekend of the summer, a great way to end the summer holidays!

So keep an eye on our website and on our Twitter pages to keep up to date with all our events and activities during summer 2011!

Image of Sinead McNicholl

Sinead McNicholl, Education Support Officer (Image credit: Armagh Planetarium)

(Article by Sinead McNicholl)


noor ahmed · July 17, 2011 at 08:56

hi, How can I register for 30-31st July event? Can children of age 5 and 9 also join this event?

    admin · July 17, 2011 at 13:22

    Hi, thanks for your query. Why not give our reception desk a call on 028 3752 3689 and someone will help you out.

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