Astronomy provides a singular perspective on our place in the Universe, addressing fundamental questions such as the origin of the Earth, the origin of Life, and `Are we Alone?'. Research into astronomy plays an increasingly important role in modern society, for example by:
The research interests of Armagh Observatory staff currently focus on (i) Stellar and Galactic Astrophysics (including star formation, astrophysical jets, cool stars, hot stars, helium stars, star-spots, flares, circumstellar dust), (ii) the Sun (the dynamic solar atmosphere, chromosphere and corona), (iii) Solar System Astronomy (including celestial mechanics, planetary science, and the dynamical evolution and interrelationships of comets, asteroids and interplanetary dust), and (iv) Solar System - Terrestrial Relationships (including solar variability, climate, accretion of interplanetary dust and Near Earth Objects). In addition, Observatory staff participate in an active programme of education and lifelong learning, via lectures, popular astronomy articles, and interviews with the press, radio and television. Further details concerning the research interests of all the Observatory staff may be obtained from the Observatory web-site at: http://star.arm.ac.uk/.
Astronomy is a highly creative cultural activity. It enjoys a strong public profile, particularly in the printed and electronic media, and in books and film, for example in Hollywood classics such as 2001: a Space Odyssey and blockbusters such as Armageddon and Deep Impact. The fruits of astronomy have inspired artists and musicians, poets and authors, as well as scientists, engineers and philosophers. They have often provided the inspiration for works of art, musical compositions, and theatrical performances. In summary, the subject provides an invaluable resource for education, entertainment and leisure, being featured in film, television documentaries, books and magazines that are seen or read by millions worldwide.