Flamsteed Astronomy Society

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opens the ’new ROG’

— May 22, 2007

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opened the ‘new ROG’ during a splendid visit to the Royal Observatory Greenwich on May 22.  The Queen toured the new facilities in the Weller Astronomy Galleries and Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust Learning Centre before the opening ceremony.  After introductions by Lord Sterling of Plaistow (Chairman of the Trustees of the NMM) and Roy Clare (Director NMM) Her Majesty unveiled the dedication plaque and then met some of the people who have worked to make the £16 mill. ’Time & Space’ project a reality.  Her Majesty and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh then watched the first formal presentation in the spectacular new Peter Harrison Planetarium, named after the NMM’s largest ever single benefactor.   The Planetarium equipment is the most modern in Europe.  The ceremony was attended by many luminaries of the UK astronomical scene including Prof. Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, Prof Colin Pillinger, and Dr Chris Lintott.

After the ceremony the Duke visited the Cutty Sark to see the damage caused by the week’s tragic fire and discuss plans for the re-birth of this much-loved lady of the sea and iconic Greenwich landmark.

The Peter Harrison Planetarium and Weller Galleries open doors to all visitors on Friday May 25th.  Entry to the galleries is free of charge.  There is a charge for entry to the Planetarium shows — see link (L) for details of charges and performance times.

The Planetarium is housed in a spectacular bronze-clad cone which is aligned on astronomically-significant axes conceived by Dr Robin Catchpole.  Robin was formerly Senior Astronomer at the ROG.  The cone is inclined at 51.5˚ , the latitude of Greenwich, and points at Polaris, the Pole Star.  The North face points vertically to the zenith.  The cone sits on the Greenwich meridian mid-way between the Prime Meridian of the world (1884) and the GPS (WGS84) prime meridian.

The Flamsteed Society will be visiting the Planetarium and Weller galleries 3 or 4 times a year for planetarium presentations and to use the lobby area for workshops etc.

Her Majesty the Queen arrives at the ROG with Roy Clare (R) Director NMM (pic: Eddie Yeadon)

The bronze-clad cone of the Peter Harrison Planetarium (R) with the ROG South Building (L) housing the new Weller Astronomy Galleries and Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust Learning Centre (pic: Mike Dryland)

Left to right:  Lord Sterling, Roy Clare, Peter Snow, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh  (pic: Eddie Yeadon)

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

with Lord and Lady Tanlaw (pic: Eddie Yeadon)

View north past the cone towards Flamsteed House (L), the Great Equatorial dome  and Canary Wharf (R) (pic: Mike Dryland)