We live in an age when dazzling astronomical imagery is everywhere. We are privileged to have immediate access to close ups of the worlds of the Solar System thanks to interplanetary probes and stunning panoramas of nebula and galaxies thanks to hi-tech observatories. But to experience and to feel completely in touch with the marvels of the Universe you cannot beat directly seeing them for yourself with your own eyes. Here is how we can help. Armagh Planetarium is happy to announce that we will be hosting public telescope viewing sessions as part of our regular programme of free late evening openings.
The Planetarium has invested in a 12 inch telescope on a Dobsonian mount and I have been getting to grips with this impressive beast over the past few weeks. I am delighted with the views I have obtained of the Moon, planets and deep sky objects and I think our visitors will be fascinated too.
Observing sessions will be held at the Planetarium after the evening Digital Theatre show on our monthly Open Nights. We intend to observe from 7.00 to 9.00pm (this means that we will not be observing in the summer months when it will still be daylight at these times). The astronomical objects viewed will change with the seasons, and range from the Moon to the planets (such as Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Venus) to nebulae and galaxies and, if we are really lucky, passing comets.
If you would like to join in please be aware that observing can be done only if the sky is clear, the telescope cannot see through cloud and rain! The Digital Theatre show will go ahead regardless of the weather. Also (and I know this from bitter experience) dressing warmly is essential!
If you are interested in participating please phone to book your place. I’m looking forward to some wonderful nights of stargazing!
(The next late night opening with observing session is scheduled for October 2016.)
(Article by Colin Johnston, Science Communicator)