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The James Lockyer Planetarium

Opened in 1995, the 58  seat dome houses the Spitz  planetarium and associated audio visual equipment.


The planetarium was built and equipped in 1995 to seat 58 persons arranged in a circle. In 2005 the planetarium was upgraded with a Spitz projector donated by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.  The observatory takes pride in its presentation of the night sky; a skilled presenter is always present to provide the live lecture. We  believe that science should  be presented, face to face, by a knowledgeable enthusiast.

There are two shows, either the "Sun and Planets" or "Deep Space Objects and the Cosmos". Each show lasts about 40 minutes and is tailored to suit the ages and needs of the audience (e.g. the National Curriculum for Schools). There is always an opportunity for questions. 

The planetarium is named after Sir Norman's youngest son, who was director from 1920 to 1936 and gained a high international reputation for the observatory's research. The James Lockyer Planetarium now offers  presentations on the night sky at all public open astronomy events.

The word "planetarium" refers both to the projector machine and also to the building.  The picture shows the Spitz machine installed in the spring of 2005. 

Flash photography is not permitted in the planetarium as it destroys the night vision of the audience present. The presentation starts with an illustrated talk, while the eyes of the audience adjusts to the dark.





Photo of the new planetarium




Copyright Norman Lockyer Observatory   January 2008

Except when stated "for and on behalf of The Norman Lockyer Observatory", the facts, views and opinions expressed in these pages are those of the contributors. The Editor includes them in good faith and there is no intention to infringe any copyrights. Copyright remains the property of each contributor.