Armagh Observatory and Planetarium is a registered charity and non-departmental public body, funded by the Northern Ireland Executive through the Department for Communities. AOP was established by in 1790 and is the longest continuously operating astronomical research institute in the UK & Ireland. Our mission is:

“To advance the knowledge and understanding of astronomy and related sciences through the execution, promotion and dissemination of astronomical research nationally and internationally in order to enrich the intellectual, economic, social and cultural life of the community”.

Armagh Observatory and Planetarium comprises a number of components including the Planetarium (with full dome digital theatre), the ‘Grade-A listed’ Observatory (housing many of the original historical astronomical telescopes in their original mountings and settings) and the Astropark (featuring the Hill of Infinity and a scale model of the solar system).

Until 2016 the organisation existed as two separate entities pursuing their own objectives.  A major review of governance and a new management structure has been put in place to create a new combined organisation.

Governance arrangements at AOP comprise a Board of Governors who meet annually to ensure that the culture and character, history and patrimony embodied in AOP are protected and preserved.  The Governors have delegated primary responsibility for the governance and management of AOP to a Management Committee (The Board).

Mr John Briggs Chair

Professor Michael Burton Chief Executive

Why Armagh Observatory and Planetarium is supporting Boardroom Apprentice

AOP joined Boardroom Apprentice as part of our commitment to promote gender equality in science.  AOP wishes to improve gender balance at all levels, including at Board and Management Committee level.  AOP would particularly welcome a female apprentice.

Location of Board and Committee Meetings

All meetings take place at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, College Hill, Armagh.  Over the past year meetings have taken place either been held remotely via Zoom or in hybrid form, to comply with the social distancing requirements.

Frequency and timing of board/committee meetings

Meetings are held quarterly, generally in March, June, September and December.  They commence at 11.00 am and are over by 2.00 pm at the latest.

Date of Board Meetings (September 2022 – August 2023)

Monday 3 October 2022 and Monday 19 December 2022.  Dates for 2023 have not yet been set.

Committee of the Boards and meeting dates (September 2021 – August 2022)

Standing committees are held on the same day at 9.00 am (Audit and Risk Assurance Committee) and 10.00 am (Staffing Policy and Remuneration Committee).