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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 18:00:58 EDT
Subject: N/S Special, Armagh Planetarium, AWOTWS, ISS

Hi all,

1. Thanks to Danny Collins for this info: "The current New Scientist issue, 
No 2468, dated 9 October 2004, has a 30-page "State of the Universe" 
supplement. Introduced by Martin Rees, it has 8 further articles and a short review of 
current cosmology books. Looks fairly interesting."

2. This is most of the text of the Press Release re the Armagh Planetarium:
STAR ATTRACTION SOON TO RE-OPEN IN ARMAGH

Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister, Angela Smith MP, announced that a total 
of £2 million is now to be made available towards the cost of re-opening the 
Armagh Planetarium to the public within 18 months.

The Minister said:  It is nearly four years since this terrific facility was 
last fully operational and, as one of Northern Ireland's top visitor 
attractions, it has been sorely missed.  Therefore, I am very pleased that further 
funds have been identified within my Department's existing resources towards the 
cost of putting the Planetarium back among the world leaders in this field.

In April, I announced that £1 million was available to carry out the wor
necessary to re-open the building to the public.  However, increasing the 
funding to £2 million will not only contribute towards a complete refurbishment of 
the whole facility but will also see its famous Space Theatre fully equipped 
with brand new state of the art technology.

Angela Smith explained that the investment would see the Planetarium, the 
only facility of its type on the island of Ireland, transformed into one of the 
most modern public buildings.  Particular attention will be paid to easy access 
for disabled people and the Space Theatre is to be refitted with the most 
advanced 3D digital projection system in the world, the Digistar 3.  This special 
computerised system will now enable the entire dome to be filled with 
spectacular video scenes of the cosmos.

The Minister continued:  Armagh Planetarium has established a world-wide 
reputation for innovation, such as using video as an integral part of its 
presentations and involving the audience through interactive facilities.  Every major 
planetarium around the world now uses the technology pioneered in Armagh.

Indeed, it has a remarkable record of being first in many fields and, by 
developing shows for all age groups, it has advanced the public's understanding 
of scientific concepts and space exploration.

Many Mums and Dads throughout Northern Ireland will remember visiting the 
Planetarium when they were children.  Soon it will be the turn of their children 
to enjoy a totally new experience and to compare notes with them.

"I am confident that the long awaited return of this unique attraction will 
have visitors flocking to Armagh once again for an adventure that is literally 
out of this world", she added.
 
(The Armagh Planetarium opened in 1968 as the outreach arm of Armagh 
Observatory and has been the public face of astronomy in Northern Ireland for over 30 
years.
   It was closed in November 2000 for health and safety reasons and, since 
then, it has been concentrating on outreach work to schools using inflatable 
star domes.
   Since 2000, its staff have presented live science shows to over 50,000 
people and have developed programmes for special needs schools and minority 
community groups.)
   Advertisements calling for Expressions of Interest from contractors will 
be placed at the beginning of October.  Work on the Administration Building is 
expected to start soon with work on the Planetarium commencing in February 
2005."

3. Thanks to all IAA members who helped at the Ulster Museum's "A Walk On The 
Wild Side" event last W/E. The usual stalwarts in particular were there: 
Philip Baxter, Danny Collins, Ken Doyle, & Derek Heatly. David Collins brought his 
big iron meteorite on Sunday, & George Brannan was busy with his video camera 
that day too, with Robert Hill answering lots of questions about the 
Planetarium news. And even Andy was there on the Saturday! 

4. The ISS is just starting another series of morning passes, some of them 
not too early for those getting up earlyish for work anyway. Details on <
www.heavens-above.com>

Next IAA public lecture will be on 20 October In Stranmillis as usual - more 
details later.

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley

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