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Encyclopedia > Royal Observatory, Greenwich
Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Notice the time ball atop the Octagon Room.
Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Notice the time ball atop the Octagon Room.
Laser projected from the observatory marking the Prime Meridian line
Royal Observatory, Greenwich
Royal Observatory, Greenwich
Former Royal Greenwich Observatory, Herstmonceux East Sussex
One of the hyper-accurate chronometers at the observatory
One of the hyper-accurate chronometers at the observatory

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich (formerly the Royal Greenwich Observatory or RGO) was commissioned in 1675 by King Charles II. At this time the king also created the position of Astronomer Royal (initially filled by John Flamsteed), to serve as the director of the observatory and to "apply himself with the most exact care and diligence to the rectifying of the tables of the motions of the heavens, and the places of the fixed stars, so as to find out the so much desired longitude of places for the perfecting of the art of navigation." It is situated on a hill in Greenwich Park in Greenwich, London, overlooking the River Thames. Royal Observatory, Greenwich Image by ChrisO File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Royal Observatory, Greenwich Image by ChrisO File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The timeball at Greenwich is shown in the top right of picture A time ball is a large metal or painted wooden ball, visible to shipping, that drops at a predetermined time to enable sailors to set their chronometers. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 587 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (945 × 965 pixel, file size: 243 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) I took this picture of the laser at Royal Greenwich Observatory on the 5th September 2006. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 587 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (945 × 965 pixel, file size: 243 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) I took this picture of the laser at Royal Greenwich Observatory on the 5th September 2006. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 638 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1329 × 1249 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 638 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1329 × 1249 pixel, file size: 1. ... Royal Greenwich Observatory, Herstmonceux. ... Royal Greenwich Observatory, Herstmonceux. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 450 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (960 × 1280 pixel, file size: 180 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)One of the hyper-accurate chronometers at the Royal Greenwich Observatory. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 450 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (960 × 1280 pixel, file size: 180 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)One of the hyper-accurate chronometers at the Royal Greenwich Observatory. ... Year 1675 (MDCLXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the 10-day slower Julian calendar). ... Charles II (29 May 1630 – 6 February 1685) was the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. ... Astronomer Royal is a senior post in the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. ... John Flamsteed - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... One of the Royal Parks of London, Greenwich Park is a former deer-park in Greenwich and one of the largest single green spaces in south east London. ... Greenwich is a town, now part of the south eastern urban sprawl of London, England, on the south bank of the River Thames in the London Borough of Greenwich. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... The Thames is a river flowing through southern England, and one of the major waterways in England. ...

Contents

History

Flamsteed House, the original part of the Observatory, was designed by Sir Christopher Wren probably with the assistance of Robert Hooke and was the first purpose-built scientific research facility in Britain. It was built for a cost of £520 (£20 over budget) out of largely recycled materials on the foundations of Duke Humphrey's Tower, which resulted in the alignment being 13 degrees away from true North, somewhat to Flamsteed's chagrin. Sir Christopher Wren, (20 October 1632–25 February 1723) was a 17th century English designer, astronomer, geometrician, and the greatest English architect of his time. ... Robert Hooke, FRS (July 18, 1635 – March 3, 1703) was an English polymath who played an important role in the scientific revolution, through both experimental and theoretical work. ...


It housed not only the scientific instruments to be used by Flamsteed in his work on stellar tables, but over time also incorporated a number of additional responsibilities such as the keeping of time and later Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office. The HM Nautical Almanac Office (HMNAO), now part of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Abingdon in Oxfordshire, was established in 1832 on the site of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, where the Nautical Almanac had been published since 1767. ...


Two clocks, built by Thomas Tompion, were installed in the 20 foot high Octagon Room, the principal room of the building. They were of unusual design, each with a pendulum 13 feet (3.96 metres) in length mounted above the clock face, giving a period of four seconds and an accuracy, then unparalleled, of seven seconds per day. Thomas Tompion Thomas Tompion(1639-1713) was an English master clocksmith known today as the father of English watchmaking. ...


British astronomers have long used the Royal Observatory as a basis for measurement: four separate meridians have been drawn through the building. The basis of longitude, the Prime Meridian, established in 1851 and adopted at an international conference in 1884, passes through the Airy transit circle of the observatory. It was long marked by a brass strip in the courtyard, now upgraded to stainless steel, and, since December 16, 1999, has been marked by a powerful green laser shining north across the London night sky. Longitude, sometimes denoted by the Greek letter λ (lambda),[1][2] describes the location of a place on Earth east or west of a north-south line called the Prime Meridian. ... Location of the Prime Meridian Prime Meridian in Greenwich The Prime Meridian, also known as the International Meridian or Greenwich Meridian, is the meridian (line of longitude) passing through the Royal Greenwich Observatory, Greenwich, England — it is the meridian at which longitude is 0 degrees. ... George Biddell Airy Sir George Biddell Airy (or Airey) FRS (July 27, 1801–January 2, 1892) was British Astronomer Royal from 1835 to 1881. ... Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... December 16 is the 350th day of the year (351st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1999 Gregorian calendar). ... Experiment with a laser (US Military) In physics, a laser is a device that emits light through a specific mechanism for which the term laser is an acronym: light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. ...


This old astronomical prime meridian has been replaced by a more modern prime meridian. When Greenwich was an active observatory, geographical coordinates were referred to a local oblate spheroid called a datum, whose surface closely matched local mean sea level, called the geoid. Several datums were in use around the world, all using different spheroids, because mean sea level undulates by as much as 100 metres world-wide. Modern geodetic reference systems, such as the World Geodetic System and the International Terrestrial Reference Frame, use a single Earth-centered oblate spheroid. The shift from several spheroids to one world-wide spheroid caused all geographical coordinates to shift by many metres, sometimes as much as several hundred metres. The Prime Meridian of these modern reference systems is about 100 metres east of the Greenwich astronomical meridian represented by the brass strip. Oblate also refers to a member of the Roman Catholic religious order of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, or in some cases to a lay or religious person who has officially associated himself (or herself) with a monastic community such as the Benedictines for reasons of personal enrichment without... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Geodetic system. ... For considerations of sea level change, in particular rise associated with possible global warming, see sea level rise. ... The GOCE project will measure high-accuracy gravity gradients and provide an accurate geoid model based on the Earths gravity field. ... The World Geodetic System defines a fixed global reference frame for the Earth, for use in geodesy and navigation. ... The International Terrestrial Reference System (ITRS) describes procedures for creating reference frames suitable for use with measurements on or near the Earths surface. ...


Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was at one time based on the time observations made at Greenwich (until 1954). Thereafter, GMT was calculated from observations made at other observatories which were still active. GMT is now often called Universal Time, which is now calculated from observations of extra-galactic radio sources, and then converted into several forms, including UT0 (UT at the remote observatory), UT1 (UT corrected for polar motion), and UTC (UT in discrete SI seconds within 0.9 s of UT1). To help others synchronize their clocks to GMT, a time ball was installed by Astronomer Royal John Pond in 1833. It still drops daily to mark the exact moment of 1 p.m. (13:00) year round (GMT during winter and BST during summer) [1]. Time zones of Europe: Light colours indicate countries not observing summer time Greenwich Mean Time (Media:Example. ... Universal Time (UT) is a timescale based on the rotation of the Earth. ... This article needs to be wikified. ... Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is a high-precision atomic time standard. ... The timeball at Greenwich is shown in the top right of picture A time ball is a large metal or painted wooden ball, visible to shipping, that drops at a predetermined time to enable sailors to set their chronometers. ... John Pond (c. ... Time zones of Europe: Light colours indicate countries not observing daylight saving British Summer Time (BST) is the changing of the clocks in effect in the United Kingdom and Irish Summer Time (IST) in Republic of Ireland between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October each...


Today the buildings include a museum of astronomical and navigational tools, which is part of the National Maritime Museum, notably including John Harrison's prize-winning longitude marine chronometer, H4 and its three predecessors. Several additional horological artifacts are also displayed, documenting the history of precision timekeeping for navigational and astronomical purposes, including the mid 20th-century Russian-made Fedchenko clock (the most accurate pendulum clock ever built in multiple copies). It is also home to the 28-inch Grubb refracting telescope the largest of its kind in the UK. The Shepherd Clock outside the observatory gate is an early example of an electric slave clock. In February 2005 construction work began on a £15 million redevelopment project to provide a new planetarium and additional display galleries and educational facilities. Project completed, the 120 seat Peter Harrison Planetarium officially opened July 2007. The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich The National Maritime Museum (NMM) is the leading maritime museum of the United Kingdom, and one of the most important in the world. ... John Harrison John Harrison (March 24, 1693–March 24, 1776) was an English clockmaker, who designed and built the worlds first successful chronometer (maritime clock), one whose accuracy was great enough to allow the determination of longitude over long distances. ... A marine chronometer is a timekeeper precise enough to be used as a portable time standard, used to determine longitude by means of celestial navigation. ... Sir Howard Grubb, FRS, (1844-1931) was a designer and maker of telescopes from Dublin. ... Image of a refracting telescope from the Cincinnati Observatory in 1848 A refracting or refractor telescope is a dioptric telescope that uses a lens as its objective to form an image. ... Shepherd Gate Clock at Royal Greenwich Observatory The Shepherd Gate Clock is the clock mounted on the wall outside the gate of the Royal Greenwich Observatory building in Greenwich, London. ... // A planetarium is a theatre built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky, or for training in celestial navigation. ...


Royal Observatory, Greenwich vs. Royal Greenwich Observatory

During much of the twentieth century, the Royal Greenwich Observatory was not at Greenwich. The last time that all departments were there was 1924: in that year the arrival of the railway affected the readings of Magnetic And Meteorological Department and forced its move to Abinger. In 1939, during World War II, many departments were evacuated, along with the rest of London, to the countryside (Abinger, Bradford, and Bath) and activities in Greenwich were reduced to the bare minimum. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with magnet. ... Satellite image of Hurricane Hugo with a polar low visible at the top of the image. ... Should not be confused with Surry. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... The larger City of Bradford Metropolitan District includes other settlements in the surrounding area. ... Bath is a city in Somerset, England most famous for its baths fed by three hot springs. ...


After the War, in 1947, the decision was made to move to Herstmonceux Castle and 320 adjacent acres (1.3 km²) (70 km south-southeast of Greenwich near Hailsham in East Sussex) due to light pollution in London. Although the Astronomer Royal moved to the castle in 1948, the scientific staff could not move until the completion of new observatory buildings in 1957. Shortly thereafter, other far flung departments were reintegrated at Herstmonceux. Herstmonceux Castle Herstmonceux Castle in Herstmonceux, East Sussex, is currently owned by Queens University at Kingston. ... Statistics Population: 19,658 (2001 Census) Ordnance Survey OS grid reference: TQ590095 Administration District: Wealden Shire county: East Sussex Region: South East England Constituent country: England Sovereign state: United Kingdom Other Ceremonial county: East Sussex Historic county: East Sussex Services Police force: Sussex Police Fire and rescue: {{{Fire}}} Ambulance: South... East Sussex is a county in South East England. ... This time exposure photo of New York City shows sky glow, one form of light pollution. ...


The Isaac Newton Telescope was built at Herstmonceux in 1967, but was moved to Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in Spain's Canary Islands in 1979. In 1990 the RGO moved again, to Cambridge. Following a decision of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, it closed in 1998. Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office was transferred to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory after the closure. Other work went to the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh. The castle grounds are now the home of the International Study Centre of Queen's University, Kingston, Canada and the Observatory Science Centre. The INT dome by moonlight The Isaac Newton Telescope or INT is a 2. ... The seeing statistics for Roque de los Muchachos Observatory make it the third best location for optical and infrared astronomy after Dome C, Antarctica and Mauna Kea Observatory, Hawaii. ... Capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife Official language(s) Spanish Area  â€“ Total  â€“ % of Spain Ranked 13th  7,447 km²  1. ... Geography Status City (1951) Region East of England Admin. ... PPARC is an abbreviation for the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, and is the UKs strategic science investment agency based in Swindon. ... The HM Nautical Almanac Office (HMNAO), now part of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Abingdon in Oxfordshire, was established in 1832 on the site of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, where the Nautical Almanac had been published since 1767. ... Aerial view of Rutherford Appleton Lab. ... The UK Astronomy Technology Centre is based at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... Edinburgh (() pronounced ; Scottish Gaelic: ) is the capital of Scotland and its second largest city. ... Queens University, or simply Queens, is a coeducational, nonsectarian university located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, on the edge of Lake Ontario. ...


Chronology

Illustration (1824)
Illustration (1824)
Royal Observatory, Greenwich c. 1902 from old postcard
Royal Observatory, Greenwich c. 1902 from old postcard
  • 1675 Royal Observatory, Greenwich founded.
  • 1924 Hourly time signals (Greenwich Time Signal) from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich were first broadcast on February 5.
  • 1948 Astronomer Royal moves to Herstmonceux.
  • 1957 Royal Observatory completes its move to Herstmonceux, becoming the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO). The Greenwich site becomes the Old Royal Observatory.
  • 1990 RGO moves to Cambridge.
  • 1998 RGO closes. Greenwich site becomes the Royal Observatory, Greenwich again, and is part of the National Maritime Museum.

Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Graph of the six pips The Greenwich Time Signal (abbreviated GTS) or BBC pips is a time code heard on some BBC radio stations at the start of the hour, most notably on Radio 4 and the World Service. ... is the 36th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich The National Maritime Museum (NMM) is the leading maritime museum of the United Kingdom, and one of the most important in the world. ...

Further reading

  • Greenwich Observatory: ... the Royal Observatory at Greenwich and Herstmonceux, 1675-1975. London: Taylor & Francis, 1975 3v. (Vol. 1. Origins and early history (1675-1835), by Eric G. Forbes. ISBN 0-85066-093-9; Vol. 2. Recent history (1836-1975), by A.J. Meadows. ISBN 0-85066-094-7; Vol. 3. The buildings and instruments by Derek Howse. ISBN 0-85066-095-5).
  • Greenwich Time and the Longitude. London: Philip Wilson, 1997, by Derek Howse. ISBN 0-85667-468-0.

External links

  • HM Nautical Almanac Office
  • The Royal Observatory, Greenwich
  • Aerial View of The Royal Observatory, Greenwich at Google Maps
  • The National Maritime Museum
  • The RGO at Herstmonceux
  • The Observatory Science Centre
  • Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes

Coordinates: 51°28′38″N, 0°00′00″E Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Royal Greenwich Observatory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (516 words)
The original site of the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO), which was built as a workplace for the Astronomer Royal, was on a hill in Greenwich Park in Greenwich, London, overlooking the River Thames.
Although the Astronomer Royal moved to the castle in 1948, the scientific staff could not move until the completion of new observatory buildings in 1957.
Greenwich Mean Time was at one time based on the time observations made at Greenwich, before being superseded by Coordinated Universal Time.
Greenwich - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (785 words)
Greenwich (pronounced 'gren-itch' [ˈgrɛnɪtʃ], or [ˈgrɪnɪtʃ] by the locals) is a town, now part of the south eastern urban sprawl of London, on the south bank of the river Thames in the London Borough of Greenwich.
Greenwich Mean Time was at one time based on the time observations made at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, before being superseded by Coordinated Universal Time.
The observatory is situated in Greenwich Park, which used to be the grounds of the Royal Palace of Placentia.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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