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Cooke Telescope

Cooke Telescope

Doors Open Days


28 — 29 Sep 2019  

10am – 5pm 

Join us for Tours of the City Observatory during Doors Open Days, including the Cooke telescope in the McEwan Dome, which is normally closed to the public.

Collective’s home in the City Observatory on Calton Hill was designed by William Playfair in 1818. Calton Hill was the birthplace of astronomy and time-keeping in Edinburgh and the City Observatory houses two telescopes, a Fraunhofer-Repsold transit telescope (1831) and, upstairs in the McEwan Dome, a 6-inch astronomical observatory refracting telescope, made by T Cooke, York, in 1896 and not ordinarily open to the public.

Celestial observations made at the City Observatory were used to track accurate time. By providing a timekeeping service which eventually led to the One O’ Clock time-ball on the nearby Nelson Monument, the Observatory directly contributed to the global expansion of trade and empire through Scotland’s maritime fleet. By setting their ship’s chronometers accurately, sailors were for the first time able to accurately plot their position at sea.

Tours will take place at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00. Tours will last around 30 minutes and there is no need to book - just drop in.

Doors Open Days is Scotland’s largest free festival that celebrates heritage and the built environment. It offers free access to over a thousand venues across Scotland throughout September every year.

The Cooke Telescope can only be accessed via circular stairs and is not accessible to wheelchair or mobility scooter users. Collective’s new buildings, the City Dome, outdoor areas and Observatory are accessible. More information on accessibility can be found here.