About The Observatory

  The Observatory consists of;-

Activity Room;-  can seat 30 people has a digital projector showing directly to a screen on the end wall, connects to broadband. Houses the meteorite and geology collection, spectrometers and tea making facility. Conveniently located near the campsite toilet block. Turned into TV Studio both for ITV and the BBC  for outside broadcasts.

Outreach Facility;-  

 Is located at the top of the Camping Field.

The telescopes. The biggest reflector on site is Bill's Big Un a 9" reflector with a fixed pier in a stock proof fence. Children love climbing the ladder to look at the planets or Moon!  The other  fixed telescope is a 7" refractor mounted on a telegraph pole and gives splendid views of Moon and planets.

 There is a range of smaller scopes, which school children and visitors can use as well. Plus Green Laser  & Celestron Sky Scout to support the fixed telescopes. Large Compass, Sun Dial & Sunshine Recorder etc.

The Binoculars;- Starting with the normal 10 X 50 pair on a small tripod we have a Celestron 15 X 70 binocular on a large tripod, excellent optics, and a Revelation 25 X 100 binocular on a giant tripod. 

Weather Station. Based on a Maplin "Professional Weather Station" it measures rainfall, wind speed, temperature as well as a number of derived parameters.  Its relay station is located in the window of the outreach facility store- for benefit of our visitors.


Area 51 contains;-

The Observatory Studio with dividing roof  now  finished  houses medium sized scopes (150 - 200mm) under ideal conditions. Cameras can be fitted to allow brighter objects to be imaged and or viewed on computer screens. Good for GCSE Astronomy project work. The scopes include the LX90 200mm,  150" Skywatcher refractor, 200mm Orion Reflector. Supported by an ETX 105  and Celestron 15 X 70mm binoculars. Is supported by a computer notebook running Stellarium on to a computer flat screen. A portable Sidereal Clock and Giant Compass allows RA & Dec to be understood!

 The solar observatory. This consists of a Bench-mounted 10" Newtonian reflector projecting on to a screen for direct viewing or to a camera for imaging. The scope is contained in a light tight module which allows access for small numbers of students. The sunlight is fed into the module by a 20" heliostat - the largest in the country. This large mirror is equatorially mounted and so can track to keep the sunlight pointing directly at the main mirror of the telescope. (The commissioning of this instrument heralded the longest period without sun spots since the Maunder Minimum.)  

 The Radio Telescope being re-commissioned the picture also shows Paul with his 4" apo Tak and a Radio Cornwall Reporter.


Credit  Robb Sidston of our Imaging team


Support Scopes. We have satellite observatories housing specialist equipment and a whole range of cameras of a variety of types.

Research Library; Contains about 300 specialist texts ranging in date from 18th Cent to prepublication. Plus a large number of periodicals. 

Web Site; Is updated almost every day often using images taken by the Observatory team.

Our History

The observatory was started by Clive Purchase in 1998 to prepare for the Cornish eclipse in 99. This was very successful apart from the cloud.

Following the eclipse, Clive moved the bulk of the equipment to form the Callington  Space Centre and Brian Sheen relocated the Observatory to Court Farm. 

 For the first year or two we operated mostly during the summer holidays and it soon became apparent that a large number of the visitors appreciated the opportunity to learn about the night sky and to look through the telescopes.

  In 2005 we replaced the outer walls of the Activity Room and decorated the inside. We also supported Eurojam at Chelmsford.

  2006 we got Broadband channelled in and with a digital projector expanded the teaching to youth groups. We set up the Solar Observatory.

  2007 saw a concentration on the World Scout Jamboree 40,000 teenagers also at Chelmsford, we organised a linkup with the International Space Station and helped with the launch of over 1000 model rockets.

  2008  We spent trying to sort out a four metre Radio Telescope and prepare for the Expedition to the River Niger. A main aim of the expedition was to teach astronomy in some of the poorest countries in the world. We also established the Outreach Facility. 

 2009 We  mounted the 7" Roseland Refractor, and are worked on the  micrometeorite collector. The weather station is now up and running. 

  2010 We built a 15' X 10' Observatory Studio with sliding roof.  This houses three main telescopes designed to be  used by visiting students.  We also have the Sky Scout and Green laser plus a computer notebook running Stellarium onto a computer screen.

 2011 Broadband established throughout he Observatory., together with the Magnetometer and solar radio telescope.



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