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Patron: Her Majesty the Queen


The Royal Scottish Society of Arts
Showcasing Scotland's Science, Technology and Innovation

Excursions Programme 2007

Visit to the Royal Observatory

22nd November 2007 at 18:30

The Royal Observatory Edinburgh on Blackford Hill houses the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, the University of Edinburgh Institute for Astronomy and the Visitor Centre. The UK ATC (http://www.roe.ac.uk/ukatc/) is the foremost supplier of major instruments for the world's ground-based facilities, including the recent VISTA 4m telescope to the European Southern Observatory. It also manufactures space instrumentation and is currently leading the MIRI instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope - the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. The UK ATC has a particular reputation for producing instruments that work at very low temperatures, as low as only 0.1 degrees above absolute zero.

The Visitor Centre is a central theme of the Royal Observatory and has for many years had a vibrant outreach programme, including the Winter Lecture series (http://www.roe.ac.uk/vc/actpublic/lectures/). The Observatory also houses one of the finest astronomical book collections in the world; the Crawford Collection housed in special conditions.

This is an opportunity to visit the site and see what goes in the Crawford laboratory and see the most successful instrument built for ground-based astronomy, SCUBA, and its successor, SCUBA-2, which will be shipped to the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii in early December. The 'crown jewells' of the Crawford Collection (including many first editions) will also be on display and the work of the visitor centre and the plans for its expansion also presented.

The group is limited to 30 people due to the limitations of viewing the Crawford collection. The visit will last from 1830 to 2030 (or until everyone gets tired) on Thursday November 22nd 2007.

Details of the venue location and where to meet on site will be provided to those attending.

Fellows of the Society are asked to confirm their intention to take part with the Secretary. Guests are welcome when there are sufficient places.

Jane Ridder-Patrick, Secretary
Telephone: 0131 556 2161

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