Technical equipment at Armagh, which is used primarily for numerical analysis, computer modelling and data reduction, is funded by the PPARC, PRTLI, and the DCAL. Facilities presently comprise some 30 Linux workstations and a range of peripherals, as well as a computer cluster comprising 15 dual-processor 3.0GHz work nodes and one master node, with a total of 30GB memory. These are used mainly for computationally intensive research projects in areas such as solar physics, stellar atmospheres, numerical magneto-hydrodynamics, star formation and jets, and solar system dynamics.
The internal network is a 1Gbps backbone ethernet linked with switched hubs. The external network is connected to the Joint Academic Network (JANET) through a 10Mbps link provided through the Observatory's participation in the Northern Ireland Regional Area Network (NIRAN). The increase in the Observatory's network capacity together with a continuing programme of equipment upgrades will enable the Observatory to participate in important new developments such as the Virtual Observatory, the UK AstroGRID, the European Grid of Solar Observatories, the ESA SpaceGRID, and GRID Ireland. Access to Grid technology is currently provided via CosmoGrid (http://www.cosmogrid.ie/). This will provide access to three high-performance supercomputer clusters, each comprising 1281GHz PCs, one in Galway and two in Dublin (DIAS and UCD).
Armagh Observatory staff regularly receive awards of telescope time on national and international facilities, and research grants from various grant awarding bodies. The Observatory is also eligible to receive grants from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Within the next two years, with the support of the DCAL, the Observatory will benefit from access to the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), a large (10-metre class) telescope located at the Sutherland Observatory, South Africa, through its membership of the UK SALT Consortium (see http://star.arm.ac.uk/SALT/). Renovation of the historic telescopes and telescope domes at Armagh, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the DCAL, will also bring the Observatory's own telescopes (an 18-inch reflector and a 10-inch refractor) back into use for some research and student training.
The SALT project is an international collaboration between the following parties: