The Armagh Observatory, founded in 1789 by Archbishop Richard Robinson, is a modern scientific research institute with a rich heritage. Around 25 astronomers are researching Solar-System Astronomy, Solar Physics, Stellar and Galactic Astrophysics, and Solar System Earth relationships. It maintains the longest daily climate series in the UK and Ireland (see http://climate.arm.ac.uk/
), and one of the longest from a single site in the world.
The Observatory is located together with the Armagh Planetarium in approximately 14 acres of attractive, landscaped grounds known as the Armagh Astropark. The Grounds and Astropark contain scale models of the Solar System and the Universe and a wide range of flora and fauna. Of particular interest are the Human Orrery, two sundials, and historic telescopes and telescope domes.
A walk around the Astropark is a stroll through the Universe. Here, you can discover the relative distances and sizes of the rocky inner planets and the gaseous outer planets. Beyond the “hypercube”, you go on a journey beyond our Galaxy, past galaxies and clusters of galaxies to the origin of our Universe nearly 14 billion years ago. There are interpretation panels and leaflets to aid further understanding.
The Human Orrery, is located close to the historic Grade A listed main Observatory building. It is the first outdoor exhibit in the world to show with precision at any time the relative positions of the six classical planets in our Solar System, two comets (1P/Halley and 2P/Encke) and the first asteroid, namely (1) Ceres, discovered on 1801 January 1.
The Grounds, Astropark and Human Orrery are freely open to visitors during daylight hours every day. Group guided tours can be arranged by appointment.