News » Archived News 2008

The StarDome a Portable Planetarium launches at Discovery

On Sunday November 16th at 2.15pm  Blackrock Castle Observator in association with Armagh Planetarium, will launch the StarDome, a portable planetarium, in City Hall at Discovery 2008, Cork ’s Interactive Science Exhibition.

In a joint effort to increase public awareness of astronomy, Armagh Planetarium and Blackrock Castle Observatory are sharing aspects of their outreach programme including the StarDome. This ensures that schools and community groups that may not make it to Blackrock Castle ’s award-winning, interactive astronomy exhibit Cosmos at the Castle can still experience the wonders of astronomy.

The StarDome will bring the night sky to schools and communities both in Cork and around the country. Using the software Celestia and Stellarium the planetarium offers the chance to step outside the Milky Way and roam the Universe. Stars and planets appear life-like and it feels like you are actually flying through space.

Expert astronomers from Blackrock Castle Observatory can customise the show to suit any group. Earth’s Wild Ride and NASA’s Ring World are just two of the planetarium shows Blackrock Castle Observatory can bring you.

Commenting at the launch, Clair McSweeney, Facilities Manager at Blackrock Castle Observatory said, “We are delighted to be able to cast the astronomy net further afield with the StarDome. It is a superb tool, which aims to improve scientific literacy, promote interest in and enjoyment of science, and allow students to better understand abstract astronomical concepts. We will challenge common misconceptions such as the reasons for the seasons, the cause of moon phases and the predictions of astrology’’.

Discover astronomy schools programmes at Blackrock Castle with ongoing workshops Mars Mysteries and Comets at the Castle. These are accredited Discover Primary Science workshops and part of the Discover Science and Engineering schools programme. The facility also offers astronomy enquiry workshops for transition year students at second level.

The StarDome is guided by Frances McCarthy, a highly experienced astronomy facilitator and physics teacher with a proven background in science communication from science centres in London and Toronto .

Workshops take place with 21st century technology in a 16th century Castle.

Research is in association with the Department of Applied Physics and Instrumentation, Cork Institute of Technology.



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