Launch Of Human Orrey
The Armagh Observatory’s ‘Human Orrery’ is the first large outdoor exhibit in the world to show accurately the elliptical orbits and changing relative positions of the planets and other solar system bodies with time. It has been constructed with the support of the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and is the first major addition to the Observatory Grounds and Astropark for more than a decade. A ceremony to mark its construction will take place at the Observatory on the morning of Friday 26th November.
An orrery is a dynamic model of the solar system, designed to show the positions, relative orbits and distances of the planets about the Sun. It shows the orbital periods of objects revolving around the Sun and can be used to illustrate a wide range of celestial phenomena, including planetary alignments, conjunctions, transits, and the laws of orbital mechanics.
The name ‘Orrery’ for the first orrery, which was invented 300 years ago by the English clockmaker and inventor George Graham (c.1674–1751), was popularized by the Irish essayist Sir Richard Steele (1672–1729), in honour of Charles Boyle (1674–1731), the fourth Earl of Orrery. The name has since been attached to any device designed to show the planetary motions.
In the Human Orrery, people play the role of the moving planets and other solar system bodies. The model provides an accurate map of the orbits of the six naked-eye planets, an asteroid and two comets, and shows their positions at any time. When the exhibit is finally completed, it will also show the thirteen zodiacal constellations through which the Sun passes in the course of a year and the directions to a wide range of more distant objects in the Universe.
Mark Bailey, the Observatory Director, said: “The Human Orrery is great way to explain the Earth’s position in space. You can look at the positions of the Sun, planets and other objects on the ground and immediately work out which objects are visible tonight, or at any other time, and where they will appear in the sky relative to one another.”
The Human Orrery is also great fun to use. It provides a wealth of fascinating educational opportunities to engage people not just in science and mathematics, but also in the art of learning how to observe and take careful measurements, and so how to discover new things about the world in which we live.
The ‘inspiration’ of astronomy extends well beyond pure and applied science and technology, and the launch of the Human Orrery is therefore also an opportunity to highlight the breadth of cultural activities supported by the DCAL as well as astronomical research. In particular, the Launch will include the performance of an innovative ‘Dance of the Planets’ performed by children from the local Armstrong Primary School.
The Opening Ceremony will begin at 11:45 in the Observatory library, and will include formal contributions on behalf of the Observatory, the DCAL and the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC). Many of those who have contributed to the creation of this world ‘first’ for Armagh will be present, as too will other invited guests and some of the Observatory’s staff, students and senior management.
Prof. Mark Bailey | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
New technique promises tunable laser devices
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...