Royal Observatory Greenwich

Whether it's observing the stars, standing astride the Prime Meridian or marvelling at John Harrison's timepieces, the Royal Observatory Greenwich provides a treasure trove of fascinating information. Read all about the history of space, time and navigation, plus find out more about the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

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In August 2015 a paper was published by scientists in the US explaining why the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory Greenwich is 102 metres to the west of the prime meridian used by satellite based navigation and timekeeping, known as the International Reference Meridian or IRM. The paper created quite a stir in the media.

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19th-century astronomers went beyond cataloguing the skies to understanding their composition and predicting what could not be seen.

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Curator of the Royal Observatory, Louise Devoy, looks at Pepys's links to our site here in Greenwich.

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Meridian astronomy is the meticulous surveying of the stars so that positions and movements of stars can be known accurately.

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Curator Louise Devoy looks back to Margaret Maskelyne, daughter of the fith Astronomer Royal, who drew watercolours of both the Royal Observatory and the Queen's House.

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With a telescope we can see billons of miles and travel effortlessly back billions of years in time.

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As we prepare for the Transit of Mercury here at the Royal Observatory our curator, Louise Devoy, looks back to observations made here in 1753.

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Why was Greenwich chosen as the home of the Prime Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time, and what do those terms mean?

Sir George Biddell Airy (1801-92)

Within the Caird Library’s collection of rare books is the personal library of the seventh Astronomer Royal, Sir George Biddell Airy. It features a plethora of scientific and astronomical research, as well as some of the Library’s most historically significant works such as Copernicus’s influential De revolutionibus orbium coelestium and Flamsteed’s controversial Historiae coelestis, which was published without his consent.

Hunting Moon © Jean Baptise Feldmann, Astronomy Photographer of the Year People and Space Runner Up 2011

Is it a star, is it a planet or is it a plane? A handy guide to identifying that bright object you saw last night.

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