Lancaster University

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New Observatory Opened by Sir Patrick Moore

05/28/2002 15:58:39

Sir Patrick Moore, visited the University on 20th May to perform the formal opening of a new teaching facility- the Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw Observatory.

Sir Patrick has been associated with the University for the last 30 years, and was awarded an honorary DSc in 1974. Also present at the opening were Sir Francis Graham-Smith, the former Astronomer Royal, and Denis Buczynski, the well-known local Lancaster astronomer, who is also an honorary graduate of the University.

Dame Kathleen (former Pro-Chancellor of the University) who is herself a keen amateur astronomer said, "I am over the Moon and half way to Mars at having an observatory in my name".

In praising the Physics Department for their initiative in building the observatory, Sir Patrick speculated that a future Astronomer Royal might one day look through his (or her) first telescope at the observatory. Thanking Dame Kathleen for donating the telescope and Sir Patrick for opening the observatory, Professor Peter McClintock said "that an interest in astronomy was a strong motivation for many students to take physics". The observatory is intended to enhance the teaching of astrophysics and cosmology in the Department.

Following the opening ceremony, Sir Patrick gave a lecture entitled 'The Sky at Night' to a packed Faraday lecture theatre, in which he described highlights of Man's exploration of the solar system. As a token of appreciation for his visit, Sir Patrick was presented with a laser pointer by Professor Keith Wigmore (Physics Department). Sir Patrick was later guest of honour, together with Dame Kathleen, at a dinner in Cartmel College.