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Armagh Observatory

Director: Professor Mark E. Bailey
Courses and degrees offered: PhD (3 years)
Studentships available: Observatory and STFC
Average intake per year: 3

General information:

The Armagh Observatory (see is a modern astronomical research institute and the oldest scientific institution in Northern Ireland. Founded by Archbishop Richard Robinson in 1789, it stands close to the centre of the City of Armagh together with the Armagh Planetarium in approximately 14 acres of attractive, landscaped grounds known as the Armagh Astropark. The Observatory Demesne, Grounds and Astropark include scale models of the Solar System and the Universe, two sundials and two historic telescopes, as well as telescope domes and other outdoor exhibits (see A new public outreach facility, the Human Orrery (see, is located close to the historic main building of the modern Observatory.

There is currently a fluctuating population of around 30 research staff, including students and short-term visitors, with principal research interests focusing on four main areas of astronomy, namely:

  • Solar System science: including celestial mechanics, planetary science, the dynamics of meteors and other small bodies, the origin of comets and trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), and the interrelationships between comets, asteroids, meteoroids and interplanetary dust, and Near-Earth Objects (NEOs);
  • Solar Physics: including the dynamic solar atmosphere, the chromosphere and corona, and Sun-Earth relationships including climate;
  • Stellar Astrophysics: including hot stars, massive stars, stellar winds, degenerate and helium stars, asteroseismology, studies of binary stars (including their origins, physical properties, population studies, and the physical properties of ultra-compact binaries), and constraints on gamma-ray burst progenitors; and
  • Galactic Astronomy: including brown dwarfs, star formation, globular and open clusters.

In addition, Observatory staff participate in a vibrant astronomy education and public outreach programme via lectures, popular astronomy articles and interviews with the press, radio and television. Further details concerning recent and current research interests of Armagh Observatory staff may be obtained from the Observatory website, at

For further information and full details of the application process for specific research projects please visit the Observatory's website



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