Northumberland

 

Email: Survey Officer

Astronomers

Observatories

Astronomy Groups

Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society (KOAS), founded 2008.  The group runs Kielder Obsevatory which hose several large telescopes (12 & 16-inch reflectors) for astronomy outreach.  They run public and private observing sessions 7 days a week when clear.

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Astronomical Society (NewcAS), founded 1904.  Members meet at the Red Cross Centre, Croft House, Western Avenue, Newcastle (NE4 8SR).

Northumberland Astronomical Society (NortAS), founded 2000. Members (70 – 2018) meet regularly at Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre, Low Hauxley (NE65 0JR) and observe from their Hauxley Observatory that houses a 14-inch Meade SCT reflector.

16 Responses to Northumberland

  1. David, Ponteland says:

    Hi,
    Out of interest are you aware of a scope coming into Clse House from nr Hepple (6m west of Thropton? It used to be owned by a Capt Hall but was moved many years ago.
    Dave Ponteland

  2. ziksby says:

    Is this the 4.5″ Cooke telescope referred to in the text above?

  3. Robert Baird-Trotter says:

    Sir,
    I am researching the 6.3 English inch telescope once belonging to Rev. William Rutter Dawes the “eagle eyed” double star observer..
    Acording to Prof. C.Piazzi Smyth, in December 1862 he visited the observatory of Mr. E.J. Collingwood. His description of the Observatory states “… and is furnished, among other instruments, with an equatoreal, whose object-glass, a Munich 6-inch, had been purchased from the late Charles May, C.E., and by him procured from Mr. Dawes, ….” .
    This observatory is described as having the Merz telescope mounted on a Traughton & Simms with some fittings by Dollond in excellent style” It is also described as having a clock drive.

    Ref. Transactions of the Royal Society of Scotland Vol. XXIII, Part II p390 “On the Great Refracting Telescope at Elchies, in Morayshire, and its Powers in Siderial Observation”.
    By Professor C. Piazzi Smyth. Read Dec 1862 and March 1863.

    This is in serious disagreement with what is stated to be in the present observatory.

    Robert Baird-Trotter
    Western Australia

  4. liz elliott says:

    i have a sketch done in the 1800s of an observatory at Woodside, Hepple do you have any information on this?

    • ziksby says:

      Hi Liz, This was Wilfred Hall’s observatory. The telescope was manufactured by Grubb of Dublin and was a 15″ refractor, now situated in the Alston Observatory of the University of Central Lancashire. Prior to its installation at Hepple, it was first erected and used at George Dunn’s observatory in Maidenhead. Thanks for the enquiry and I will add some information to our pages.

    • DON SIMPSON says:

      I now have copies of the original photos taken at Woodside inc.: interior/exterior of observatory; water tower (used to generate hydroelectric for observatory): battery room/battery station; dynamo and the mansion house amongst others.

      • Liz

        Thanks for letting me know of the existence of the photos of the Woodside Observatory. If you could send me copies I am happy to add them to the survey page for Northumberland (kevin.liam.johnson@gmail.com). The same applies to the original paperwork you mention.

        Kevin

      • LEN CLUCAS says:

        DON, I SWAPPED A SMALL PHOTO ALBUM WITH DAVID SINDEN FOR A LENS.WHAT YOU DESCRIBE SOUNDS VERY MUCH LIKE THAT DOCUMENT, COULD YOU MAIL ME FURTHER DETAILS OR PHONE 01668 281727?
        SINCERELY LEN CLUCAS

  5. liz elliott says:

    Thanks for the info. I could send a copy of the sketch but I am not sure who to email it to. Liz

  6. Survey of Astronomical History says:

    Hi Liz

    Please sent it directly to at my Gmail address, namely

    kevin.liam.johnson@gmail.com

    Thanks

    Kevin

  7. David Jackson says:

    Hi Liz,
    I visited the Lilburn Tower observatory some years ago and introduced it to my friend David Sinden . He was commissioned by the current owner (Persimmon plc.) to make a new lens for the refractor, since the original was showing signs of cloudiness, but it still exists – in a glass case!
    I purchased some circumpolar star charts and also a set of Bessel charts from Collingwood prior to his selling the estate. I still have these. I also have an original paper (see above, Robert Baird-Trotter letter) which is signed ‘with the authors compliments’.
    It was agreed that the Newcastle university astronomical society could use the observatory, but I think the fact that they had the 24″ Calver (restored by David Sinden) means that it is really not used at all now. pity!
    Regards
    David Jackson (ex RGO)

  8. len clucas says:

    I NOTE THE PICTURES OF THE LILBURN INSTRUMENT ARE THOSE I TOOK FOR THE SHA A FEW YEARS AGO. THE ORIGINAL LENS STILL EXISTS I HAVE IT HERE BEFORE ME. IT HAS BEEN MEASURED AND TESTED BY JOHN NICHOL. THE CLOUDING OVER OF A SMALL AREA IS TOO DEEPLY INGRAINED TO CURE WITHOUT A REGRIND & REFIGURING OF AT LEAST ONE SURFACE ALTHOUGH IT IS STILL USABLE. MY RESEARCHINGS SAY IT IS A MERZ LENS. ON THE LENS SIDE ARE THE INITIALS D.S. 1961. WAS DAVID AT LILBURN A YEAR BEFORE HE JOINED GRUBBS?
    THE WILFRED HALL TELESCOPE WAS BROUGHT TO GRUBBS IN 1955 FOR REFURBISHMENT WITH VERY LIMITED FUNDS. I WAS 171/2 AND PUT ON WITH A FITTER WILSON RIDLEY TO DISMANTLE & REBUILD THE INSTRUMENT IT WAS A PLEASURE TO TAKE THIS OLD TELESCOPE ( 1895? ) AND EXAMINE THE EXQUISITE ENGINEERING. THE BEST JOB I HAD AS AN APPRENTICE.

    • Is the original Lilburn telescope lens still at the observatory? It is interesting to learn first hand that the Wilfred-Hall telescope was re-furbished in 1955 by the successors to the original maker of the telescope. Do you have any information as to when it was dismantled, had it been in storage?

      • len clucas says:

        AS I SAID IN MY PREVIOUS CONTRIBUTION THE LILBURN LENS IS HERE IN MY OFFICE. TO FURTHER TEST THE ORIGIN OF THIS LENS I MEASURED IT IN GERMAN INCHES ( ZOLL ). THE OVERALL DIA. IS 6.98 GERMAN INCHES, THE APERTURE IS 6.57 GERMAN INCHES. SO THE LENS IS 7 GERMAN INCHES WITH SLIGHTLY GENEROUS 6.5 APERTURE. THIS CONVINCES ME THAT IT WAS MADE BY THE ALMOST PROLIFIC LENS MAKER OF THE 19th CENTURY, MERZ. THE FOCAL LENGTH IS 105.7 ZOLL GIVING A FOCAL RATIO OF 16.08.

        SINCERELY LEN CLUCAS

  9. DON SIMPSON says:

    Re. Lilburn Tower. I have managed to acquire some original paperwork from there. Not much, but includes measurements of double stars, mathematical equations and construction of a basic bulb barometer.

  10. LEN CLUCAS says:

    I AND MY FELLOW AMATUER ASTRONOMER TOM MORAN VISITED THE WILFRED HALL OBSERVATORY AT UCL EARLIER THIS YEAR AND WERE WELL RECEIVED BY DR MARK NORRIS AND HIS ASSISTANT. THE TELESCOPE IN THE SETTING OF A HUGE OBSERVATORY LOOKED EVEN BETTER THAN IT DID IN 1955 WHEN I WORKED ON ITS REFURBISHMENT AS AN APPRENTICE AT GRUBB PARSONS. VARIOUS MODIFICATIONS TO THE DRIVE HAD BEEN MADE OVER THE YEARS AND THE CAMERA HAD NOT BEEN USED. DR NORRIS HAD SOME FILM OF WHEN THE OBSERVATORY WAS ERECTED SHOWING THE DOME OF STEEL MESH CONSTRUCTION BEFORE IT WAS COVERED BY INSULATING MATERIAL. THE INSTRUMENT IS NOW A STATIC MUSEUM EXIBIT,. IT IS WELL WORTH A VISIT.

    PS IF YOU LOOK AT THE 1913 PICTURE OF THE WOODSIDE OBSERVATORY YOU CAN SEE WHAT APPEARS TO BE A TRANSIT TELESCOPE SHUTTER AT THE RIGHT HAND SIDE.
    SINCERELY LEN CLUCAS

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