£70,000 extension at Norman Lockyer Observatory opens

The opening of the new centre at the Norman Lockyer Observatory with Pete Lawrence (left), Diana Bea

The opening of the new centre at the Norman Lockyer Observatory with Pete Lawrence (left), Diana Beasley (Sister of the late Jeanne Edyvean), Dr. Paul Abel, & David Strange (NLO Chairman). Picture credit: Alan Green - Credit: Archant

Astronomy fans are over the moon following the opening of a £70,000 extension at Sidmouth’s Norman Lockyer Observatory (NLO).

The Jeanne Edyvean Centre was officially opened on Saturday (August 10) by BBC Sky at Night presenters Paul Abel and Pete Lawrence.

The centre has been named in memory of the long serving NLO member Jeanne Edyvean and will be used as a teaching and demonstration area.

Through funding from Mrs Edyvean and the Sid Vale Association's Keith Owen Fund, the NLO was able to extend its Lockyer Technology Centre and will be able to demonstrate radar and video detection of meteors and solar and geomagnetic activity.

The project comes 34 years after the late Sir Patrick Moore opened the James Lockyer Planetarium, following his efforts to save the observatory.

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The NLO was purchased by East Devon District Council and is now run by the Norman Lockyer Observatory Society.

Read our story Sidmouth astroscouts are over the moon works can start on observatory extension here.

David Strange, NLO chairman, said: "It was therefore very appropriate to maintain our links with Patrick Moore's legacy, namely the BBC Sky at Night team, and invite his co-presenters along to our South West Astronomy Fair to open our new extension to the main building.

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"Over the years the NLO has had tremendous financial support from the Sid Vale community for which we are all extremely grateful.

"The main extension comprises a large open plan teaching and demonstration area which will be used as a classroom for our younger NLO members known as "Astroscouts"."

The building will be used as a demonstration area during the observatory's British Science Week and Sidmouth Science Festival's family day events held in March and October.

New members of all ages are always welcome to join the society and can visit the website for further details.

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