Keeping Up Appearances
Keeping Up Appearances
Our beloved Observatory has been open for over 14 years, and since then we've made plenty of changes and upgrades to both the facility and how we operate. From extending our reach at Kielder into the schools in Northumberland, to opening the Gillian Dickinson Astro Imaging Academy building in 2018. Kielder Observatory continues to grow.
Most recently we've made and planned a few more changes to improve our hilltop facility in Kielder. A timber building that spends over a decade amongst forestry experiences wear and tear from the elements, so we're going to be giving our Observatory some well-deserved TLC- conducting various building repairs, making minor fixes and ensuring we protect our home from inevitable damp.
Speaking of forestry, the fast growing commercial Spruce trees surrounding the Observatory have been removed which guarantees unobstructed views through our telescopes. it allows native trees such as Pine, Rowan, Willow and Birch to come through, increasing the biodiversity surrounding us. The Observatory team are currently enjoying the last views of the resident Swallows before they migrate for the Autumn.
We're also in the process of improving safety and accessibility. Recently we opened a new composting toilet, and soon there will be a ramp installed to make this accessible for all users. We're also looking into lighting solution; at the Observatory we use red lights to preserve dark adapted vision whilst stargazing. The red lights that guide visitors up and down the track will be replaces and improved, and we're also looking into installing red strip lighting around the facility to improve visitor experience and safety.
Finally, through collaboration with Forestry England we now have a scale model of the solar system on the track that leads to the Observatory! On your next visit look out for the signs that feature each planet in our solar system, starting with Neptune in the bottom car park and finishing with the Sun at the top of the hill. The signs give you some interesting facts and information about each body, and the distances have been carefully measured to give you a real sense of scale on your way up Black Fell.
So, the next time you visit us, you'll be visiting an improved Observatory, featuring some exciting new additions to look out for. We hope to see you very soon.