View of Royal Observatory Greenwich at night, taken from Flamsteed House
The Great Equatorial Telescope is housed in the south-east dome. The 28-inch Greenwich refracting telescope is the largest of its kind in the UK and the seventh largest in the world. Completed in 1893 as a replacement for the 12¾-inch Merz that originally occupied its position, it was commissioned in 1885 by William Christie, Astronomer Royal between 1881 and 1911. It was designed to keep the Royal Observatory at the forefront of contemporary astronomy and more active in the growing disciplines of astrophysics and photography. The job of constructing the telescope was given to Howard Grubb, an Irish optical manufacturer who was then the world leader in the field.
Although the telescope was removed from Greenwich to Herstmonceaux in 1957, it was used for research into double star systems throughout its working life until its retirement in the late 1960s. It was returned to Greenwich in 1971, and has become a central part of educational programmes at the Royal Observatory. With the recent addition of a computer-aided guidance system and CCD camera, it continues to work as an excellent visual aid to observing the night sky.
National Maritime Museum Photo Studio
- Image reference: D3155
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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