post 2000

In 2002 Keele were given a "Public Understanding of Science" grant of £5000, to purchase a small solar telescope. This has proved very popular with daytime visitors. Although small, it has shown a lot of activity on the Sun. We are able to see a lot of interesting activity on the Sun (important safety warning for observing the Sun). And it was very useful for the second of two rare transit events that occurred shortly afterwards: a Mercury transit (7th May 2003) and a Venus transit (2nd June 2004). Only a few Venus transits have ever been observed, and we were lucky to have the instruments to observe it and weather which allowed us to see it. There is a whole page dedicated to the Venus transit.

solar telescope mercury venus transit

The solar telescope is the small gold telescope on top of the blue refracting telescope

Mercury (lower left) transit by eyepiece projection (there is a sunspot on the right)

The Venus transit; would the clouds hold off?

A view through the solar telescope

See Venus transit page

The major event post-2000 was the donation of £250 000 by the Wolfson Foundation, to improve the visitor experience at Keele. During 2009, the meeting room has been expanded, and provided with a blackout. It is hoped that more solar and spectroscopic observation equipment can be obtained but this will need separate funding.

A new projection system has been installed, and a large number of visitors (about 30) will be able to view live data as it comes in on the research telescope. The optics of this telescope have been upgraded, and new electronics (both imaging and control) will be provided. The whole internal decor has been 'refreshed' (painted!) and new furnishings and toilets have been provided.

Old Observatory front Observatory summer 2009 Observatory November 2009
The Observatory before the 2009 work During the work in the Summer of 2009 The finished building (November 2009)