Cutting-edge telescope makes Greenwich a working observatory for the first time in 60 years

Pull on the right ropes and the dome at the Altazimuth pavilion at the Royal Observatory Greenwich swings around and opens up to reveal a thick band of London sky. The Victorian building is about to emerge from a major refurbishment and inside the dome sits the main attraction: a cutting-edge telescope that will make Greenwich a working observatory for the first time in 60 years.

The installation of the Annie Maunder Astrographic Telescope (Amat) has staff at Greenwich palpably excited. Over the obligatory banging of builders at work, Brendan Owens and Tom Kerss, both astronomers at the site, admit that they have been working late, very late, to put the kit through its paces. If they are tired from being up all hours, they do not let it show. “It’s a little bit addictive,” Owens says.

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