History

  • Over 1.65 million people – more than the population of Northern Ireland – have visited Armagh Planetarium.
  • Armagh Planetarium is the longest serving planetarium in the United Kingdom.
  • Armagh Planetarium was the first planetarium in the world to show moving images by projecting video on the dome.
  • This innovation has been shared with other planetaria around the world.
  • The Space Odyssey show, created in Armagh, was the world’s first ever completely interactive planetarium show.
  • The audience could decide what they wanted to see by pressing buttons on keypads built into their seats. Again this technology, invented in Armagh, has spread to Planetaria world-wide.
  • The first seats installed in the Star Theatre were airliner seats donated by Belfast aircraft company Shorts.
  • Throughout the 1970s and 80s, one of the Planetarium’s popular exhibits was a full-scale mock up of a Gemini spacecraft, originally used in the filming of the James Bond film You Only Live Twice.
  • Among the non-astronomical events presented at Armagh Planetarium was live coverage of Princess Anne’s wedding in 1973 on the dome.
  • When Halley’s Comet last visited our skies in 1986, Armagh Planetarium offered free admission to anyone who had saw the comet in its previous appearance in 1910!
  • Armagh Planetarium has been honoured to play host to many leading lights in space and astronomy. We have been visited by many astronomers and astronauts, including Jim Irwin and Al Worden (both Apollo 15), Dr Edgar Mitchell (Apollo 14), Helen Sharman (first UK astronaut) and Thomas Bopp (co-discoverer of Comet Hale-Bopp)
  • Armagh Planetarium has its own BBC radio studio.
  • Visitors to the Planetarium were among the first in the world to see the nucleus of Halley’s Comet in close-up. When the Giotto spacecraft made its historic fly-by on 13 March 1986, the images were projected live on the dome of the Star Theatre!

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