Royal Observatory & history of astronomy

Solar astrophysics started at the Royal Observatory with George Biddell Airy's observation of the solar eclipse of 1842.
An exhibition of instruments and artefacts from the Royal Greenwich Observatory collection.
Harrison's Marine Chronometer (H4)
Harrison's marine timekeepers are the centrepiece of a permanent display at the Royal Observatory.
Astronomy today is the product of centuries of development, transmitted across continents.
Tycho Brahe, 1546 - 1601
The Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) made extremely accurate star charts for his time.
Sir William Herschel, 1738-1822 by John Russell
The relationship between the Observatory and the Herschel family lasted over a century.
Sir George Biddell Airy
The Airy Transit Circle was designed by George Biddell Airy and came into use 150 years ago.
View a selection of images highlighting the construction and rennovation that took place at Royal Observatory during the last century.
Sir Christopher Wren
Christopher Wren is best known as the architect of St. Paul's Cathedral and other London churches, but his first love was science and...
Greenwich Park Explosion
The Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park, London, was subject to an anarchist bomb attack in 1894.
The primary concern of the Observatory had always been the production of accurate tables of star positions.
The south-east dome with the shutter open
The 28-inch Greenwich refracting telescope is the largest of its kind in the UK and the seventh largest in the world.
The stories of John Goodricke 1764-1786 and Konstantin Tsiolkowski 1857-1935.
Why does a GPS receiver operated on the zero meridian at Greenwich differ by about 100 metres from zero?
The 12¾-inch Merz - illustration from The Midnight Sky by Edwin Dunkin (1891)
19th century developments in maths, physics, chemistry and geology were applied to astronomy.
The sundial commemorating the Tercentenary of the Observatory is a reclining equiangular sundial.
Little known facts about the Royal Observatory, its history and the development of time keeping.
The year 2000 was exactly 400 years since William Gilbert published the first scholarly work on magnetism.
Find out why The Royal Observatory in Greenwich is the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the Prime Meridian of the world.
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich (crop)
Portraits of the Astronomers Royal
Robert Hooke’s drawing of a flea from Micrographia, 1665
Hooke was a leading figure of a new scientific age based on experimentation and observation.
Fireworks at the ROG
The Universal Day is based on the time on the Prime Meridian at Greenwich. But what is the Universal Day?