The Annie Maunder Astrographic Telescope Facility
Back in January we were chosen to supply and install a brand new state-of-the-art telescope at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, London, (a UNESCO world heritage site) as part of their Altazimuth Pavilion observatory project. After discussing their needs, we provided them with a suggested set-up, along with alternatives and they decided on
• Software Bisque Paramount ME II computer controlled German equatorial mount
• Celestron C14 14”/355mm aperture Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope for Lunar, Solar and planetary work;
• Takahashi FSQ106, a 106mm refractor fitted with a large format Starlight Xpress SX-46 cooled CCD camera, Starlight Xpress Maxi filter wheel with a range of Baader Planetarium filters for wide field deep sky imaging. A Takahashi GT-40 and Starlight Xpress Ultrastar camera, piggybacked on the FSQ106 telescope, is used for guiding during long exposure imaging sessions;
• Lunt 100mm dedicated Hydrogen-Alpha solar telescope for studies of the Sun’s activities and features.
• SkyWatcher Evostar 120mm aperture refractor for wider field of view observations of solar system objects, when compared to views through the Celestron C14; This was donated by Lee Sproats for their project.
Daniel Hinds and Lee Sproats had done a build and test of all the equipment back at our premises in Leighton Buzzard, to make sure all items were present and working as they should, prior to delivery and installation at the Observatory. Lee and Daniel then spent two days at the observatory in April doing the installation, necessary adjustments and final testing. We’ve shown some of the photos of the installation and a couple from the "unveiling" ceremony at the Observatory earlier this week.
The instrument package has been named the Annie Maunder Astrographic Telescope (AMAT) after the renowned Northern Irish astronomer and solar observer. Annie was the first female scientist to work at the observatory so this high quality, state of the art installation, is a fitting tribute to her achievements.
The Altazimuth Pavilion project raised over £150,000 through charitable donations to refurbish this grade II listed building and, with its new telescope facility, brings the historic 19th century observatory into the 21st century.
The Annie Maunder Astrographic Telescope “opens the dome” to a new era of astronomy for the prestigious Royal Observatory Greenwich, which will see it regain its status as a working observatory for the first time in 60 years. The telescope will provide not only a platform for public engagement in exploring the wonders of the night sky but will also allow new and exciting astronomical research projects to be undertaken.
We here are delighted and proud to be a part of the team helping to recognise the work of this pioneering solar astronomer and hope this telescope will inspire the next generation of astronomers.