Overlooking the rest of the Royal Museums from the peak of the park, the northern section of this attraction of two halves looks at Greenwich’s horoligical connection.
Flamsteed House, the observatory built in 1675 on the orders of Charles II, contains the apartments of Sir John Flamsteed and other Astronomers Royal, as well as instruments used in timekeeping since the 14th century. John Harrison’s four timekeepers, used to crack the problem of longitude, are here, while the onion dome houses the country’s largest (28in) refracting telescope – it was completed in 1893. The courtyard is where tourists gather for their Prime Meridian Line photo-opportunity, and you must pay for entry to this whole section of the attraction.
The Astronomy Centre on the south site contains the free-entry Weller Astronomy Galleries, where visitors can marvel at a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite before popping into a star show at the Peter Harrison Planetarium. For those with a keen interest in space will appreciate the 120-seater planetarium’s architecture, which cleverly reflects its astrological position: the semi-submerged cone tilts at 51.5 degrees, the latitude of Greenwich, pointing to the north star, and its reflective disc is aligned with the celestial equator.
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