Royal Observatory

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Logo.jpg Edinburgh: Hermitage Mews

A supreme monument to scientific achievement stands almost forgotten atop Blackford Hill, swallowed up in the groomed parkland and copses of mixed pine, Douglas fir, and cedar cloaking the rugged slopes. Twin copper domes, weathered to a stark green patina, crown towers rising in Victorian splendour above ornate rust-brown stone walls and angular buildings that typify period Scottish architecture. The main observatory building stretches between the original 1894 east and west domes, corridors breathing whispers of astronomical discovery and echoes of scientific giants past and present. Audience halls and offices fill the hallowed grounds, all appointed much like a university with plush seats and tiled floors. A 50 cm reflector telescope still peers at the stars in the student labs, but the West Dome sits empty of instruments, blind to the night. In the East Dome, an inoperational 90 cm Cassegrain reflector awaits renewal or replacement.

Rotating exhibitions feature everything from building comets to planetary events in the lavish Visitors Center. Schoolchildren predominate during the day, while evening events spill out onto the groomed lawns and courtyard. The secrets of the universe are teased, designed, and plumbed by scientists and engineers working in laboratories housed in an external wing. Much newer than the original observatory, the same brick style conceals ultramodern facilities guarded by key fobs, CCTVs, and rigorous access requirements. Glass displays honour past projects stretching to the turn of the 20th century, posters and news clippings tacked up in glossy detail. Computers crunch data from far off Mauna Kea and other observatories, furthering the boundaries of reason every hour of the day.


Zone: Southside
Grid: F7
Concept: Observatory
Resources: 2
Security: 3

Manager: City
Owner: City
Affiliations: None

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