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Armagh Observatory & Planetarium launches major event programme to mark 50 years since Apollo moon landing

Armagh Observatory & Planetarium launches major event programme to mark 50 years since Apollo moon landing

Armagh Observatory and Planetarium starts official count down to new ‘One Giant Leap’ summer programme of events to mark man’s pioneering space adventure 

Mankind’s first foray into the cosmos will be celebrated in Northern Ireland this year by the iconic Armagh Observatory and Planetarium which has launched a special festival event programme to mark this major event in human history. 

Marking a full 50 years since the Apollo II lunar lander made history as the first spaceflight to take humans to the surface of another world – landing astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon on July 20th 1969 – the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium’s ‘One Giant Leap’ inspiring programme of events will provide old and new generations a choice of opportunities to celebrate, experience and learn about this historic event. 

Powered with Augmented Reality technology, immersive full dome shows, traditional film, exhibitions, workshops and experiential events, all designed to get visitors into the headspace of a nervously excited young astronaut in 1969, the programme kicks off in early July and runs until the end of August. The events are designed for people of all ages to get involved. 

“No other moment in history has captivated – and continues to captivate – so many people, which is why we want to share and celebrate this amazing journey with a programme of unique events that really is out of this world,” Professor Michael Burton of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium said. 

Armagh Planetarium was just one year old when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon. Reporting on the Moon landings helped establish the Planetarium’s reputation as the “place for space”. Now, 50 years later, we are very happy to revisit the events of 1969. Come to Armagh this summer to see the best “place for space”, to experience the Moon landings, learn about the fascinating discoveries of astronomy over the past century, and hear more about Armagh’s own role in exploring the cosmos. 

The Armagh Observatory and Planetarium remains one of the UK and Ireland’s oldest and most respected operating planetariums and still delivers a globally-recognised scientific research and educational programme. 

“Most of our visitors now were born after 1969 and while they know this exciting story second hand, this year we want them to really experience it as part of a truly unique and extensive celebratory programme of events. 

“With collaborative and financial support from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, the ‘Museum of the Moon on the Mall’ which includes a stunning, touring artwork created by Luke Jerram, will also bring a terrific showcase festival event to the wider area which will be remembered for years to come,” Professor Burton added. 

Armagh Planetarium opens Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and you can check the website www.armagh.ac.uk for regular updates and for booking tickets, as well as information about special evening and Sunday opening times. Alternatively, you can phone 028 3752 3689. 

Tickets for most shows and events will go on sale from 1 April 2019.

For more information, additional images or to request an interview, please contact Annette McCormick or Dave Cullen on 028 9042 7004 or via mobile 07540 636 193. Also, please email by return for a speedy response.

APOLLO 1 

ONE GIANT LEAP! 

Mankind’s first foray into the cosmos will be celebrated in Northern Ireland this year by the iconic Observatory and Planetarium in Armagh, which has launched a special festival event programme to mark this major event in human history. Budding astronauts Ellie McGuigan (5) and Leo Cullen (9) joined in the official celebrations to mark the launch of the programme. Powered with Augmented Reality technology, immersive full dome shows, traditional film, exhibitions, workshops and experiential events, all designed to get visitors into the headspace of a nervously excited young astronaut in 1969, the programme kicks off in early July and runs until the end of August. For more information, visit www.armagh.ac.uk. 

APOLLO 2 

ONE GIANT LEAP!

Mankind’s first foray into the cosmos will be celebrated in Northern Ireland this year by the iconic Observatory and Planetarium in Armagh which has launched a special festival event programme to mark this major event in human history. Professor Michael Burton joins budding astronaut Leo Cullen (9) as part of official celebrations to mark the official programme launch. Powered with Augmented Reality technology, immersive full dome shows, traditional film, exhibitions, workshops and experiential events, all designed to get visitors into the headspace of a nervously excited young astronaut in 1969, the programme kicks off in early July and runs until the end of August. For more information, visit www.armagh.ac.uk. 

APOLLO 3 

ONE GIANT LEAP! 

Mankind’s first foray into the cosmos will be celebrated in Northern Ireland this year by the iconic Observatory and Planetarium in Armagh which has launched a special festival event programme to mark this major event in human history. Professor Michael Burton joins budding astronauts Ellie McGuigan (5) and Leo Cullen (9) as part of the official celebrations to mark the programme launch. Powered with Augmented Reality technology, immersive full dome shows, traditional film, exhibitions, workshops and experiential events, all designed to get visitors into the headspace of a nervously excited young astronaut in 1969, the programme kicks off in early July and runs until the end of August. The events are designed for people of all ages to get involved. For more information, visit www.armagh.ac.uk. 

APOLLO 4

ONE GIANT LEAP!

Mankind’s first foray into the cosmos will be celebrated in Northern Ireland this year by the iconic Observatory and Planetarium in Armagh which has launched a special festival event programme to mark this major event in human history. Budding astronauts Ellie McGuigan (5) and Leo Cullen (9) are joined by (l-r) Professor Michael Burton from Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, Chris Conway, chief executive of Translink and Bryan Wockley from the office of the US Consulate General in Northern Ireland. Powered with Augmented Reality technology, immersive full dome shows, traditional film, exhibitions, workshops and experiential events, all designed to get visitors into the headspace of a nervously excited young astronaut in 1969, the programme kicks off in early July and runs until the end of August. The events are designed for people of all ages to get involved. For more information, visit www.armagh.ac.uk. 

Key highlights from the One Giant Leap summer programme include:

MINECRAFT ON THE MOON

Daily at 10am, 12.15am, 2:15pm and 4pm from 11-13 July.

Kids will love these special moon-themed gaming workshops using Minecraft which will challenge them to explore the cosmos as part of individual and group challenges using laptops and electronic devices. Suitable for children aged eight and over, delivered in conjunction with STEM Aware, demand will be sky high for this his knock-out feature event. Note: The 4pm session is best suited for children under 8 years old. 

Above and Beyond

Daily from 17-31 July

For two full weeks, in conjunction with the Robinson Library, Number 5 Vicars’ Hill, Armagh County Museum and the Market Place Theatre, the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium will host the International Astronomical Union centenary exhibition celebrating the astronomical discoveries of the last century, associated technological developments and their impact on human culture. 

MUSEUM OF THE MOON ON THE MALL

Saturday and Sunday 20-21 July

Located in the Mall in Armagh’s city centre and perfect for a picnic, this outstanding free family event, which is supported by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, will feature a jaw-dropping, specially-commissioned 7-metre diameter backlit sky-high moon globe and centrepiece alongside live music, children’s workshops, talks and entertainment. Why not also take in a trip to Armagh Observatory and Planetarium for an all-day experience to remember? 

BLOCKBUSTER SPACE FILM FESTIVAL

Various dates at 7pm

The Planetarium’s iconic dome is the inspiring location for a series of thrilling space-themed blockbuster movies. Introduced by real-life astronomers who will explain the science behind the stories, this unique and inspiring event is not to be missed. See website for details. 

SPACE PARK AUGMENTED REALITY EXPERIENCE

July 20 Onwards

In a major first for Northern Ireland, prepare to be enthralled as part of your visit to the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium where the Astropark will be your virtual launch base to experience a ‘real’ live take-off of a 110m-high Saturn V rocket from the top of the Hill of Infinity. Then immerse yourself in the Planetarium in a virtual model of the Moon before making your way across a virtual moon landscape of an Apollo landing site. Awesome! Note: the first release will require an iPhone to experience. 

CAPCOM GO!

Daily from Saturday 20 July

A special show launching inside the iconic Armagh Planetarium Dome of CapCom Go, an immersive full dome show and historical documentary that showcases the stellar achievements of the Apollo programme and the real story and preparations made behind humanity’s first trip to the Moon. Introducing a new generation to this amazing human story, it will thrill want-to-be explorers, engineers, designers, thinkers and dreamers of the future! Tickets may be reserved from 1 April. 

SCIENTIFIC SUE

Friday and Saturday 16-17 August

An important, engaging event for your younger team. Join Scientific Sue for a Super Summer live science show – but prepare yourself for lots of explosions, mess, fun and, most importantly, learning! It’s all hand-on for all the family in this brilliant 60-minute show which guarantees fun for everyone. 

HEROES & LEGENDS

Saturday and Sunday 6-7 July

Marking a special return to kick off this year’s exciting summer programme, Heroes & Legends at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium takes place every day between 10am and 4.30pm and promises to take your space enthusiasts on an experiential journey of discovery. Come along and meet iconic costumed characters including Harry Potter, Spiderman, Star Trek, Ghostbusters, Star Wars and many more. Bring your camera to make those memories last! 

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