The Life Cycle of Astronomy - Building and using the best telescopes in the world

Royal Observatory, Edinburgh Open Days

As part of the 2004 Edinburgh International Science Festival the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh will be opening its doors to the public on 3rd and 4th April (11am - 5pm). Activities, talks and demonstrations will be centred around the Life Cycle of Astronomy. You can find out how the Observatory is involved in every step of astronomy, from asking the big science questions, to designing new instruments, storing and analysing the masses of new data, to revealing new discoveries before finally, once again, asking the next big questions....

This is the one opportunity in the year to go behind the scenes at Scotland's world class astronomical establishment. Admission to the Open Days is free and includes entry to the Visitor Centre.

Highlights of this year's programme include:

James Webb Space Telescope: Find out how we are involved in the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. One of our scientists is leading the European half of the consortium to build MIRI, an instrument that will be carried on the mission. Part of it will be built here on Blackford Hill.

Talks: Several professional astronomers and engineers will be giving talks over the Open Days. Titles include:

The Starlab Planetarium: Watch the movement of stars and galaxies across the sky. Shows will be run regularly all day.

Meet an astronomer or engineer: Your opportunity to ask any burning questions.


James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope will be the successor to Hubble. We will be building part of this space mission. (Picture credit: ESA)

Notes to Editors

1. The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh comprises the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) of the University of Edinburgh and the ROE Visitor Centre.

2. The Royal Observatory expects up to 2000 visitors over the two Open Days. It plays a major part in the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

3. The Edinburgh International Science Festival includes over 200 events designed to introduce science and technology to non-scientists of all ages. Each year over 12,000 people attend shows, workshops, talks, tours and hands-on activities in and around Edinburgh. More information can be found at

4. The 2004 International Science Festival runs from 2 - 13 April. The ROE Open Days are the 3 and 4 April.

5. The Royal Observatory Visitor Centre is open throughout the year for pre-booked group visits. The Visitor Centre can be contacted on 0131 668 8404.