Observatories on the Earths surface are used to make observations in the radio and visible light portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Most optical telescopes are housed within a dome or similar structure, to protect the delicate instruments from the elements. Telescope domes have a slit or other opening in the roof that can be opened during observing and closed when the telescope is not in use. In most cases, the entire upper portion of the telescope dome can be rotated to allow the instrument to observe different sections of the night sky.

The Crawford Observatory in UCC dates from 1880. It houses an equatorial telescope, one for which Howard Grubb, who made it, received a Gold Medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1900. The Observatory also contains a Ciderostatic telescope and Spectroscope. I stopped by to take a look at it on my cycle home.

The Observatory is a small but powerful looking building, however, it is surrounded by modern buildings and trees which mean even as one passes by you would not notice its beauty. It has a separate path leading up and its front door faces a different direction to the surrounding buildings so it’s a curious space to enter. An old photograph shows it standing alone before the other buildings were constructed in the late 1800’s, when the college was known as Queens College before Irish independence. There is no possibility of getting such a clear shot of the structure nowadays.


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