A barn is turned into a planetarium to save a 40-year-old observatory: Photo

On a former dairy farm near the small town of Ripon, in North Yorkshire, England, there is now a unique observatory and planetarium. They were created by amateur astronomers by themselves.

Inside the planetarium. Photo: limetreeobservatory.com

The idea arose ten years ago when Martin Whipp learned that the local 40-year-old telescope was in danger of destruction. This caused outrage among amateur astronomers that a valuable instrument could end up in the dustbin of history. Then Whipp, along with friends Chris Higgins and John Roberts, who were volunteers of the York Astronomical Society, decided to save the telescope – to move it to a farm in Grewelthorpe and build the Lime Tree Observatory there in one of the fields.

Amateur astronomer Martin Whipp. Photo: limetreeobservatory.com
The Lime Tree Observatory was launched after a group of amateur astronomers saved an old 40-year-old telescope that was planned to be destroyed. Photo: limetreeobservatory.com

“It has ended up being what I often describe as a hobby that’s got out of hand,” Mr Whipp told the BBC. Lime Tree Observatory includes a square concrete building with a presentation hall and a round observatory, on which a dome is covered. The telescope they saved is inside, but because of its age, they eventually decided to “retire” it. Now, thanks to the grants received, the team plans to replace it with a more modern refractor telescope. The observatory is still open to visitors in winter, when the sky is darker, because in summer, the sky over the area is often covered with clouds that interfere with observations.

The Lime Tree Observatory, built by astrophysicists near the small town of Ripon, attracts the attention of tourists. Photo: limetreeobservatory.com
Inside the planetarium. Photo: limetreeobservatory.com
Up to 30 spectators can be accommodated under the dome of the planetarium. Photo: limetreeobservatory.com

In addition to the observatory, Martin Whipp has built a planetarium nearby, which is already attracting the attention of tourists through Tripadvisor. A large glass dome was constructed in one of the farm barns and became an excellent option for British weather conditions. “We can sit 30 people underneath it and high resolution digital projectors can take people anywhere in the universe,” Mr Whipp explained. Visitors can not only explore various planets, stars and galaxies, but also “travel through time” throughout space, listening to fascinating lectures and watching the interactive sky.

According to the owner, this interactive attraction, where visitors choose what they want to see, is popular with tourists, but scout groups visit the planetarium especially often.

Earlier we reported on the best astronomical apps for Android.

According to thestrayferret.co.uk

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