About The Observatory
The Observatory consists
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.
Is located at the top of 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.
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.
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
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
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
Credit Robb Sidston of our Imaging team
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.
The observatory was started by Clive Purchase in 1998 to prepare for
the Cornish eclipse in 99. This was very successful apart from the
Following the eclipse, Clive moved the bulk of the equipment to form
the Callington Space Centre and Brian Sheen relocated the Observatory to
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
2006 we got Broadband channelled in and with a digital projector
expanded the teaching to youth groups. We set up the Solar
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
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.