Sidmouth astroscouts are over the moon works can start on observatory extension
PUBLISHED: 14:07 10 August 2018
Works can now begin on a £70,000 extension to help Sidmouth’s budding astronomers, thanks to a large charitable donation.
Earlier this year, the Herald reported on the Norman Lockyer Observatory’s (NLO) plans to build a new classroom and an extension to the Lockyer Technology Centre, as well as a new disabled access ramp.
East Devon District Council approved an application for the development in January. Shortly after, the observatory’s bosses had a meeting to discuss fundraising the money.
It has now been revealed that the Sid Vale Association’s Keith Owen Fund has generously granted aid of £20,000 towards the cost of a new classroom extension at the site on Salcombe Hill.
This will be added to the £50,000 loan which was granted by EDDC towards the project, in July.
David Strange, the NLO’s chairman, said: “NLO astroscouts are over the moon with excitement following the announcement.
“The extension will be of benefit not only to our young astronomers, but also to our visiting school groups as well as the general public.”
At its core, the site is made up of three Grade II listed buildings which were built at the start of the 20th century.
Over the years, a number of extensions have been added, promoting amateur astronomy, meteorology, radio astronomy, and science education. It is also the home of a very active amateur astronomical society.
The new classroom will be built on the north of the site and will also be used as a function room and the extensions will double the size of the Lockyer Technology Centre.
It is hoped the development will allow the observatory to have lots more community events and that the new building will be used visiting school groups for hands-on science sessions, as well as for Sidmouth Science Festival and British Science Week.
In other news, five young NLO members Benjamin Grey, Rebecca Naylor, Lucia Goulev, Victoria Briges-Galvez and Amy Scarr (pictured) have created a large ceramic moon which is a fully interactive model that uses LED lights to identify craters and lunar landing sites at the touch of a button. It will be on display at the South West Astronomy Fair at NLO tomorrow (Saturday) between 9.30am and 5pm. All are welcome.