This is the blog for our project. Visit this page to find out more about what we are doing, when and where!

OASES at the NASUWT Annual Conference 2011

OASES display at  the NASUWT conference in Limavady, 4 March 2011, followed by another wonderful performance by the Armagh Rhymers


OASES Exhibition in Armagh City Library

0ases-2010-11 Children from St. James Primary School Drumatee and the Royal School Armagh with their OASES artwork

An exhibition of amazing OASES space paintings is now on display in the Armagh City Library / AMMA Centre. We warmly invite you to see it. Congratulations to all the children who have done such a wonderful work!

See: Armagh Observatory Press Release

More photos available now!

Just got the photos from professional photographer Vincent Loughran, so click here to check them out!


OASES event on 12 November

Children from seven schools in the Armagh and Monaghan areas came together at the Armagh Planetarium on Friday 12 November to celebrate their achievements in the OASES project. 

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The schools that were part of this project this autumn were: Lisanally Special School and Royal Preparatory School Armagh, Scoil Mhuire Clontibret, St. Mary’s Primary School Granemore, Darkley Primary School, St. James Primary School Drumatee, Monaghan Collegiate and Hardy Memorial Primary School Richhill.

To see photos from the OASES event click here.

This event was also registered as part of Science Week, an annual event promoted by Discover Science and Engineering in Ireland. 

OASES is an interdisciplinary programme in which the Armagh Rhymers and the Armagh Observatory are advancing cross-community and cross-border networking by using science and the arts as a way of bringing people together "under the selfsame sky". It is supported through the European Union’s PEACE III Small Grants Programme promoted by Armagh City and District Council and managed by the PEACE III Southern Cluster Partnership for the Special EU Programmes Body.

Apart from enjoying the Armagh Planetarium’s show and exhibition area, the day was also packed with other astronomy-inspired activities organised by the Armagh Observatory and the Armagh Rhymers and, as one teacher described it, “full of information told through fun and music”“This was a very worthwile programme for the children”, said another teacher; “without activities like this there would be less understanding between communities”.

OASES Halloween Parade at Rushmere Shopping Centre, Craigavon

The theme of this year's Rushmere Shopping Centre carnival parade was "Over us All is the SElfsame Sky" (OASES).

This event was organised by Craigavon Borough Council.

Click on the photo to see the entire album of the parade:


The Armagh Rhymers and astronomer Miruna Popescu from Armagh Observatory, along with artists and Craigavon Council workers, and children and young people from Craigavon Community Centres have entertained thousands of people with face astronomy-inspired painting, music and dance performances.

The spectacular event finished off with an impressive extraterrestrial fireworks display at the Craigavon Watersports Centre.

This  project is part-funded through the EU's PEACE III Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. 

OASES Out-of-this-World Experience: coming soon! 

OASES Out-of-this-World Experience: coming soon!

The 170 children from eight schools in counties Armagh and Monaghan that were involved in this innovative project in the autumn should be prepared for an out-of-this-world experience at the Armagh Planetarium on Friday 12 November.

The visit will contain a planetarium show, a discovery visit through the planetarium’s exhibition area, a very special mathemagical presentation, professional story telling, mini-science quizzes, prizes for the winners of the OASES poem challenge, and, most importantly, their own performance of astronomy-inspired songs and dances learned during the course of the project. 

All these spiced-up with traditional music by the highly acclaimed Armagh Rhymers.

The Planetarium will also host an exhibition of the the amazing astro-art paintings that were produced during the project’s workshops.

This event is registered as part of the Science Week, an annual event in the Republic of Ireland that aims to promote the relevance of science, engineering and technology in our everyday lives. Only that this year it has a very special theme: "Our Place in Space"! That's exactly what we've learnt in the OASES project, isn't it?

Visit the Science week page to get ideas for classroom activities, see astronomy comics, and lots of other fun stuff.

Don't forget the OASES poem Challenge

Entries should be submitted to Miruna by Wednesday 10 November.

Many prizes to be won - and  everyone who enters gets a cool NASA present!

Many thanks to Discover Science and Engineering (DSE) - Science for a Successful Ireland - for their kind support for the entrance fees for the planetarium as partnership for activities during Science Week aimed at schools in the border region.

The OASES project is part-funded through the EU's PEACE III Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. The Armagh Rhymers Educational and Cultural Organisation is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The Armagh Observatory is an astronomical research institute with a rich heritage, supported by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

OASES Photo Book

A 30-page photo book containing photographs from the project is now available on photobox. Click here or on the image below to have a look at the wonderful pictures!


OASES Show at the John Hewitt Summer School

On Monday 26 July 2010 we had a performance of music and dance as part of the opening of the prestigious John Hewitt Summer School, at the Market Place Theatre, Armagh, introduced by Bill Nolan from the North-South Ministerial Council. Our presence at this event's opening has a special significance to us, as the name of our project, OASES, derives from a verse of the poem Ulster Names“ by John Hewitt: “Over us All is the SElfsame Sky”.

The “Could be a Wonderful World” song was performed on the steps from the Market Place Theatre by nearly 100 children from the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Theresa’s Sister) Summer Camp, held every year at Sherry’s Field recreational centre. This was followed later on by the “Solar System Dance” performed by 10 girls from Scoil Rince Emain Macha with choreographer Lorraine Scallon, TCRG.


See some photos from the event

Watch a video of the solar system dance


“Whatever the colour of your skin,

Whatever country you are in

It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a guy

Because Over us All is the SElfsame Sky

Australia, Hawaii, India maybe,

Armagh, Derry, whatever county

This piece of info is for you and I:

Over us All is the SElfsame Sky”

Poem written as part of the OASES project 

by Heather King, 11, Lisnadill Primary School

OASES is an innovative programme in which the Armagh Rhymers and the Armagh Observatory are advancing cross-community and cross-border networking by using science and the arts as a way of bringing people together "under the selfsame sky". This project is funded through the European Union’s PEACE III Programme promoted by Armagh City and District Council and managed by the PEACE III Southern Cluster Partnership for the Special EU Programmes Body.

Photos & videos from the astronomy show of Friday 16 April 2010

The astronomy show held on Friday 16 April 2010 at Mount St Catherine's School Armagh was a great success, "very enjoyable to participate, and so rewarding to see all the enthusiasm and commitment", as Terry Moseley from the Irish Astronomical Association remarked.

The show, put together by the Armagh Rhymers and the Armagh Observatory, along with teachers and pupils from Mount St Catherine's, celebrated the Armagh winners of the National Astronomy Competition that was part of the International Year of Astronomy 2009

The astronomy-based songs and dances were the first performance to incorporate elements from the forthcoming project, OASES: a peace and reconciliation programme, part of the international UNAWE (Universe Awareness for Young Children) activities.

The ceremony was attended by Mrs Ann Swan and pupils from the Royal School Armagh, the pupils and teachers from Mount St Catherine's School, parents and special guests from education authorities from both the north and the south of Ireland, and it was well covered by the local press.

Read more about the event

Photos from the ceremony

Videos of the performances

Celebrating astronomy competition winners from Armagh

On Friday 16 April, at Mount St Catherine's School, we are having a prize award ceremony for the Armagh winners of the 209 National Astronomy Competition - see more details here

St Patrick's Day

Today is St Patrick's Day! Join us in celebrating it!

We became part of the UNAWE family!

We are a UNAWE project!

UNAWE (Universe Awareness for Young Children) is an international outreach activity that inspires young disadvantaged children with the beauty and grandeur of the universe. During the International Year of Astronomy 38 countries became involved in UNAWE activities, with a network of more than 500 members. 

UNAWE combines the latest astronomical images with rich folkloric tradition to enthuse young children. Astronomy is a unique discipline for motivating and challenging young minds, imbuing them with an appreciation of both science and culture. 

Why is this useful? Increasingly, research shows that science should be brought to children as early as possible for them to like it.

Many thanks to Dr Carolina Odman for welcoming us to the UNAWE family!


Did the world's largest telescopes survive the earthquake?

P10004821-300x225The world's largest optical telescopes, the VLT (Very Large Telescope Array) are located in Chile, country that was recently hit by the 7th most powerful ever recorded earthquake, which, very sadly, is now counting many fatalities. 

Each of the 8.2 meter mirror of the four large telescopes is a 23 ton construction of glass, costing half a million dollars a night to operate. You would wonder, did the mirrors survive such a strong earthquake?

They did, as the telescopes were well prepared for it. 

Chile is often hit by earthquakes. Once an earthquake starts, the mirrors are lifted by clamps and secured to the telescope's structure, which itself is designed to swing during an earthquake. 

For more information about how this works click here.

Tom Barclay, PhD student at Armagh Observatory, is about to go observing there in two weeks. 

"Are you still going?" I've asked him.

"Surely, why not? As long as the airport opens again. All ESO buildings are earthquake-proof", answered Tom.

Many thanks to Tom for sending me the above links.


Today we have received a letter from the PEACE III project manager informing us that our new project needs final approvals before starting. Can't wait!

© 2010 OASES