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/Director

Why Armagh Observatory and Planetarium is supporting Boardroom Apprentice

“AOP has participated in the 2019/20 and 20/21 Boardroom Apprentice and is finding this a very worthwhile experience.  We joined Boardroom Apprentice as part of our commitment to Project Juno, a programme ran through the Institute of Physics which seeks to promote gender equality in science.  AOP wishes to improve gender balance at all levels, including at Board and Management Committee level.  A recent publicly advertised recruitment process for new members resulted in our first Boardroom Apprentice being successfully appointed to the Management Committee.”

Location of Board and Committee Meetings

All meetings take place at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, College Hill, Armagh.  During the last year meetings have been held remotely via Zoom.

Frequency and timing of board/committee meetings

Meetings are held quarterly in March, June, September and December and commence at 11.00 am – 2.00 pm.

Date of Board Meetings (September 2021 – August 2022)

Monday 21 June 2021, Monday 20 September 2021 and Monday 6 December 2021

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).