The Astronomy Centre was founded in 1982 with private financial investment. Its two fold purpose is to be a centre of astronomical excellence, with an emphasis on the practical aspects, as well as to interest and inform the general public.
The Centre is run by its founder, Peter Drew, with the support of a core group of volunteers. The Observatory is staffed by amateur astronomers with a good range of expertise, plus a keen willingness to help and advise members and visitors on all aspects of amateur astronomy.
Individuals within the voluntary staff can assist with queries regarding telescope construction and mounting, astrophotography, remote guidance and viewing, radio astronomy, connecting your telescope to your computer, the background science to astronomical events, places to find good equipment at reasonable prices, the history of astronomy and even the best types of clothing to keep you warm on a crisp, clear winter night.
There are personal networking opportunities available through the Observatory which include access to other local amateur clubs and societies, academic and research groups, professional observatories and the Royal Astronomical Society. Members of the team also work with interactive projects supported by BBC Stargazing Live and BBC Radio Lancashire to promote amateur astronomy in Lancashire and the West Riding.
As a non-profit making organisation, the Centre is financed entirely through the efforts of its membership. This may be by the donation of time and money from both volunteers and outside sources, by sponsorship or by public fund-raising activities.
The Centre has a wide selection of equipment, ranging from binoculars of various sizes to several telescopes of up to 17" in aperture. The main instruments currently available are two 16" Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes, one on a traditional equatorial mount and the other on a computer controlled fork assembly. An 8½" equatorially mounted refractor is available by prior arrangement. Portable 6" and 8" Dobsonians can be quickly set up on the plateau for visiting observers to try out.
A 30" aperture open frame telescope is undergoing refurbishment after 10 years sterling service and future plans include the building of a reflecting telescope with a 42 5/8" (1083mm) diameter mirror.
Paid up members receive practical advice, use of equipment owned by the Centre when appropriate to do so, access to additional sections of this website and opportunities to share their knowledge and experience.
Visitors are welcome, the Observatory is open to the public each Saturday evening from 7:30pm onwards and at other times as announced, in case of unusual or noteworthy astronomical events.
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