Buildings/Institutions: Cornwall

Courtney Library – Truro Museum.  Location of the Royal Institution of Cornwall.

This houses a pair of library globes (terrestrial & astronomical) which are not currenmtly on display.  The Library has numerous books and documents of astronomical interest.  This also includes all documentation regarding the Royal Institute of Cornwall of which Edwin Dunkin was president (1889-91).

Goonhilly Earth Station – A large communications centre on the Lizard.  In 1962 it made the live transatlantic television broadcast through the Satellite Telstar, via the dish named Arthur.  Arthur is a 25.9 M parabolic dish receiver.  The site’s largest dish is Merlin with a diameter of 32 M.  More recently the dishes and the site is being used for deep space communications.

Kea – The village had a description of a comet within its parish registers (known then as the Great Comet of 1861, now designated C/1861 J1).  The notes, dated Sunday June 30th, states it was seen at 9.30 pm with an apparent length of 70 degrees (about 10 million miles), moving SW to SE in the night sky (see county record office Ref.  P/97/1/3).

Launceston Museum – Exhibits a John Couch Adams bust, text books and images.  The books are an excellent source of information about 19th century astronomy (

Lanydrock House – Exhibits anclude an Orrery and a library containing a rare book collection – includes astronomy books which have been catalogued.  The collection is most likely that Francis Robertus FRS (1649-3rd Feb 1718).

Liskeard Museum – Displays John Allen’s 4-foot refracting telescope (bequest), a Cornishman and historian born in 1790.   In his History of Liskeard he described the Rev. Haydon’s observation of   1769 transit of Venus.

Morrab Library – Holds the diaries of John Davy which contains many astronomical entries taken from his journeys while serving in the Royal Navy.

St Keverne – The village holds an unusual Parish book dating from 1799.The large and comprehensive journal describes the building of a telescope and its observatory.  This includes a large amount of details,  including drawings. The unknown author wanted to have a telescope that could achieve an angular resolution of 1.5 arc seconds.  By 1806 the author concluded that the project has been shelved due to the high accuracies needed to succeed (see county record office: Ref P99/20/1).

St Michael’s Mount – Houses an 18-century transit telescope by Charles Short, used by the Lord St Leven to check mostly the times of local clocks.