Museum of the Month: Royal Observatory, Greenwich

M@
By M@ Last edited 98 months ago
Museum of the Month: Royal Observatory, Greenwich
The observatory garden.
The observatory garden.
The Azimuth House.
The Azimuth House.
The famous ball, dropped every hour as a traditional way for ships to keep time.
The famous ball, dropped every hour as a traditional way for ships to keep time.
View of the planetarium structure from above.
View of the planetarium structure from above.
The view from the telescope balcony.
The view from the telescope balcony.
Close up of the new planetarium.
Close up of the new planetarium.
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Should Dr Who ever need a retirement home, he could do a lot worse than the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. The hill-top complex is steeped in associations with both time and space. Everyone knows that it straddles the Prime Meridian, from which the whole planet calculates the time of day. Its galleries hold the original marine chronometers that first gave ships a reliable measure of longitude. And within that famous dome sits the largest refracting telescope in the country.

And it's not all old stuff, either. A couple of years ago, a major refurbishment to the complex brought in a suite of new galleries and event spaces, plus what is now London's only planetarium. Basically, if you've never visited...well it's about time.

We've got three reasons for making the observatory our Museum of the Month for December.

1) This is the final month of International Year of Astronomy.

2) December is one of the best times to visit, as the 115-year-old telescope is cranked into position for public astronomy evenings.

3) This is one of the most important scientific sites in the world and deserves to be Museum of the Millennium, never mind the month.

So over the next few weeks, we'll be bringing you a few selected highlights from this most eminent of venues.

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich can be found slap bang in the middle of Greenwich Park, up on the hill top. Entrance to most areas is free.

Last Updated 04 December 2009