Armagh Pupils Win Astronomy Competition

The painting by Edie Mea McCartney, Royal School Armagh, that won the first prize
in the "Space and Aliens" astronomy competition, the junior art section.

Armagh pupils won eight prizes in the national astronomy competition run by the Irish Astronomical Association as part of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. To celebrate this achievement, an award ceremony is being held on Friday 16th of April in Mount St Catherine's Primary School. This competition, and many of the all-Ireland International Year of Astronomy activities during 2009, have been supported by the Republic of Ireland's "Discover Science and Engineering" programme.

James Leetch and Edie Mea McCartney, from the Royal School Armagh, won first prizes in the intermediate and junior art category of the "Space and Aliens" Astronomy Competition. Orlaith O'Halloran, Kaneesha O'Hara, Emma Murtagh, Dylan McCann and Paulina Harabin, from Mount St Catherine's Primary School Armagh, were winners in junior categories of art, essays and poetry.

Terry Moseley, press officer for the Irish Astronomical Association and a leading figure in amateur astronomy, said "There was such a large number of entries in the art category, particularly in the junior and intermediate sections. The standard was very high, and judging was really difficult!" Anne Hart, class teacher at Mount St Catherine's School, continued, "I am thrilled that children from our school won so many prizes among the hundreds of entries that have been submitted to this national competition".

The awards ceremony is been organized by Terry Moseley, Miruna Popescu the Armagh Observatory's postdoctoral outreach officer and coordinator of the all-Ireland International Year of Astronomy 2009 activities, and Peter Gildea, Principal of Mount St Catherine's. Joan Shine, adviser for science with the Southern Education and Library Board, and Breda Naughton, principal officer in the Department of Education and Science's Integration Unit, will be the special guests of the ceremony.

The Armagh Rhymers, also special guests at the event, will showcase astronomy songs that are now included in their new repertoire. Their songs are part of a new project called OASES, in which, together with Miruna Popescu, they use astronomy to bring people together "under the selfsame sky". OASES, a peace and reconciliation project supported by the European Union through the Southern Cluster Partnership, is also part of the international Universe Awareness (UNAWE) programme, a worldwide activity that seeks to inspire children and young people with the beauty of the Universe.

The success of this astronomy competition demonstrates the high level of interest there is in astronomy and the advantages of bringing astronomy and related sciences into different parts of the school curriculum. "I hope the new project, OASES, will enable us to continue the good work we started in raising awareness of the Universe by bringing astronomical knowledge into local schools" said Miruna Popescu of the Armagh Observatory.

See all the Armagh prize winners.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: John McFarland or Miruna Popescu at the Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG; Tel: 028-3752-2928; jmfat or mdpat

Last Revised: 2010 April 12th