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Armagh Observatory and Planetarium has announced its latest appointments to their Board of Governors. 

Back L-R: Kim Moylan, Boardroom Apprentice 2020-21, Dean Shane Forester, Board of Governors, Greg Cox, Board of Governors and Management Committee. Middle L-R: Eugene Rooney, Management Committee, Jason Murray, Boardroom Apprentice 2021-22, Paul Kennedy, Management Committee Front L-R: Archdeacon Elizabeth Cairns, Board of Governors, John Briggs, Management Committee Chair, Archbishop John McDowell, Board of Governors Chair, Prof. Michael Burton, Director, Sammy Leslie, Board of Governors
Included are back from left: Kim Moylan, Boardroom Apprentice 2020-21, Dean Shane Forester, Board of Governors, Greg Cox, Board of Governors and Management Committee. Middle L-R: Eugene Rooney, Management Committee, Jason Murray, Boardroom Apprentice 2021-22, Paul Kennedy, Management Committee Front from left: Archdeacon Elizabeth Cairns, Board of Governors, John Briggs, Management Committee Chair, Archbishop John McDowell, Board of Governors Chair, Prof. Michael Burton, Director, Sammy Leslie, Board of Governors

Archbishop John McDowell, who took the post of Chair by virtue of statute on his elevation to Archbishop in 2020, has welcomed five new members to the Board. Dean Shane Forster and Archdeacon Elizabeth Cairns also joined by virtue of statute when appointed to their positions within the Chapter of the Church of Ireland Cathedral and Mr Greg Cox by public appointment to represent the Department for Communities. Archbishop McDowell also invited Archbishop Eamon Martin and Ms Sammy Leslie to fill two remaining vacancie

Speaking about the latest appointments, Archbishop McDowell said: “I am delighted to announce our latest Board members, who all bring their own skills and expertise to the role. These latest appointments will strengthen our position going forward, collaborating and working alongside one another, within such a unique organisation.”

Armagh Observatory and Planetarium is an exemplar for Northern Ireland on the world stage, excelling in research and public outreach in science, set within a heritage environment that is rich in scientific history.

The Board of Governors’ role is to ensure that the culture and character, history and patrimony embodied in Armagh Observatory and Planetarium is protected.

At the end of June, Archbishop McDowell, John Briggs, Chair of the Management Committee and Professor Michael Burton, Director welcomed some of the new members of the Board of Governors and Management Committee for a familiarisation tour of the Observatory & Planetarium. 

The Board of Governors has delegated the primary responsibility for the governance and management of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium to a Management Committee with the statutory purpose of “developing and improving the knowledge, appreciation and practice of astronomy and related sciences”. 

Armagh Observatory and Planetarium has announced its latest elected members to the organising committees of the prestigious International Astronomical Union (IAU), cementing its place as a leading research institution of influence on the global stage.

New appointments for Astronomers

Three Astronomers working at the Armagh Observatory, Stefano Bagnulo, Michael Burton, and Simon Jeffery have been appointed as Commission Vice-Presidents taking on new roles for the next three years. Continuing in their roles for another term in the Divisions and Commissions are Michael Burton, Tolis Christou and Jorick Vink. 

The IAU is structured into Divisions, Commissions, and Working Groups comprising of professional astronomers from 90 countries around the world at Ph.D. level and beyond, who are active in professional research, education and outreach in astronomy. 

L_R Front_Prof Simon Jeffery, Prof Michael Burton, Back_Prof Jorick Vink, Dr Tolis Christou and Dr Stefano Bagnulo
New appointments - Included front from left: Prof Simon Jeffery, Prof Michael Burton, Back: Prof Jorick Vink, Dr Tolis Christou and Dr Stefano Bagnulo

Professor Michael Burton, Director of the Armagh Observatory & Planetarium said: “It’s fantastic for a small organisation like us to play an active part of such an esteemed organisation, enabling us to have input on a global stage. Being actively involved with IAU means we collaborate and interact with many scientific organisations worldwide, which is a real privilege. The new Vice-President roles will become Presidents after three years, and then Advisors after another three years, so these are nine year roles which will give us vast knowledge and experience.”

The International Astronomical Union, that spans over 90 countries, has a mission to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation.

The scientific and educational activities of the IAU are organized by its 9 Scientific Divisions and, through them, its 35 specialized Commissions covering the full spectrum of astronomy, along with 53 Working Groups.

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