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Fathers day out to Royal Observatory.


spaceboy
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Hi All

I'm sure many of you have visited the Greenwich Royal Observatory already so I will spare you all the in depth details but as this is one attraction I have wanted to go to for many a year but never got around to seeing I just wanted to post some pics of my visit. As it happened I had to go to see a guy about an eye piece and a well timed Fathers day seemed like the perfect opportunity to get the family together for a day out to London.

My favorite part and for those refractor fans out there the main observatory dome houses a huge 28" refractor with a rather impressive Feather touch focuser on a work of art EQ mount. Later in the year when the dark nights are upon us they do observation sessions at the GRO for what I consider to be very reasonable costs given not only are you looking through one of the largest refractors in the world but also a part of history.

Other than a couple of heavy showers and tube closers the day turned out to be a resounding success.

A heads up for those of you visiting London from Birmingham I would recommend looking on the London Midland rail site as an open return for 2 adults & 1 child (over 5's) only cost us £22.50 which I considered very reasonable and my boys loved the ride out on a train. :)

SPACEBOY

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If the visit GRO wasn't already great present for Fathers day I woke up this morning to an awesome card my sons had made me. I really am a lucky Dad :mad:

thats a very nice card,i remember cards like that :)

i got two cards one telling me sarcastically what a great influence i had been on them :) the other awarding me for flatulence B) isn't it a shame they have to grow up and develop there own sense of humour :eek: still they both gave me some funds to go towards the synscan upgrade which is imminent :)

Edited by bunnygod1
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i went to the gro last year when the astrophotograhy exibition was on.

its a very nice day out lots to see at greenwich,the observatory and planetarium + much more,the queens house,maritime museum and the views across docklands are stunning,very enjoyable!

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I'm too modest to post pics of myself on the world wide web mate. Did you not like the nice pic of my Fila straddling the meridian line ? :):D

ha ha well I did suspect what sort of person would want to do such a thing...your kids...No....the wife...No....spaceboy....Yes :)B)

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I too visited it for tge first time this year & found it to be fascinating! I had wanted to visit it for years & expected to be most fascinated by the telescopes. However i found that i was most impressed by the incredible engineering of the chronometers used to calculate londitude at sea. The skill & genius of the engineers combined with the detailed star maps produced from the obervatory allowed for the first time a safe accuracte course to be set at sea. It stuck me that maybe this was a primary reason why Britian built such an empire. I would reccomend a visit to all.

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I would say to anyone thinking to go they are now charging a gate fee. The fee was originally set at £10 but due to so many complaints they are trialling £7 Adult day or £10 annual pass. I still think this to be a tad excessive but I can understand why they are doing it and the whole place is kept in good order. The only annoying part is they happily take your money but they don't like you taking pictures of the exhibits. On the ground level I took some pics of old scopes and got an ear bending from staff. When we entered the main dome observatory there were no staff about. I was determined to get a reminder of my visit so took some snaps and quickly putting my camera away. Next thing I knew a member of staff came flying through the door. I'm sure they came in to give me another ear bending but my camera was already out of sight. I can understand the site being on top of a remote hill some may take pics for alterer motives but for £7 and a first time visit it would be nice to have some more permanent reminders. I will probably return in the winter to one of the observation evenings that is if the Sky's are better than last year. I really did enjoy the day out but this is because I have wanted to go for so long and to finally get to do it was the cherry on the Fathers day cake :)

Edited by spaceboy
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An observatory kind of day. I visited the Keele Uni obsy whilst I was attending the open day there today. They have a 12 inch achromat from 1874 with a younger 17.5 inch cassegrain piggybacking on top all mounted on the original massive motorized GEM, slewing is done entirely by hand and then locked and the modern-ish RA drive takes over. The resident astronomer there told me that it was originally from oxford but was given to them in the early 1960s and was transported to Keele, dome and all!

In the other dome they have a 24 inch newtonian reflector, again on a GEM but this time totally computer controlled from downstairs and has a whopping big CCD clamped to the side at the focal point. This one is evidently a more recent 'scope but i didn't take note of when it was built.

Edited by Hypernova
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I went on Sunday too, later on in the day with my aussie cousins. All had a good time and a great place to visit.

Agreed about the entrance fee, £7 is more than enough especially when the majority of visitors have no idea of astronomy in the first place so no need to put them off with high fees.

They seemed a bit short of staff there as most rooms were unpoliced and tourist cameras were going off left right and centre!

The cousins enjoyed it on their last full day in the UK, especially the views of east London. Apparently one of their friends back home in Brisbane has what must be a 16" dob from their description, they've been a few times out with him stargazing, and the jammy ****** is a member of a club that once a month heads off for a weekend in the Outback. How good is that?? although it'd be a bit creepy in the dark with all those roos, snakes and spiders crawling about!!

Edited by Woking
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For those a bit further South, don't forget a spin off from the RGO and that's the Observatory Science Centre at Herstmonceux. Formerley the RGO from 1958 to 1990.

Well worth a visit and it's a good day out for kids with open evenings to the observatory.

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They seemed a bit short of staff there as most rooms were unpoliced and tourist cameras were going off left right and centre!

That's just my luck. Mind you I must have that look about me that often sees security guards following me around stores ;) Glad you and your cousin enjoyed the visit. I really enjoyed finally getting to go afters many visits to London but do think they should install a cable car or something as pushing a pram up that last bit of hill almost killed me :D

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Our local society SEKAS went to the RGO last year. A really great day the Harrrison clocks being worth the trip alone. The only downer was some jobsworth stopping us take a group photo with a tripod, no explanation just not allowed.

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I went to London last year for the weekend and planned a trip to the observatory but had to rush back due to a medical emergency (someone else, not me). Haven't had chance to go back yet. Would love to get a look though that refractor.

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I really enjoyed finally getting to go afters many visits to London but do think they should install a cable car or something as pushing a pram up that last bit of hill almost killed me :hello2:

oh yes, that last steep stretch got a bit sweaty as the sun had finally made an appearance.

I've been meaning to visit since I moved down south over 10 years ago, well worth the wait.

Really enjoyed explaining to my cousins that the buildings were older than their country - they did see the funny side as well as all the ashes ribbing (heard enough gloating from them over the years)

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  • 3 months later...

I was lucky enough to be born and grow up around Greenwich so have spent many happy hours between the Cutty Sark and the Observatory. The one thing I do remember is climbing the hill between the two!! Looking out at the view, it has certainly changed since I was a nipper!

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