Since the beginning of its life, The Royal Observatory at Greenwich has been pivotal towards astronomy and navigation. Interestingly, the observatory was defunct for more than fifty years. Since the year 1950, the London astronomers were restricted to work. This restriction was parallel to the rising incidences of smog. The smog formation grew so severely in London that the astronomers faced difficulty in observing space through their telescopes.
Moreover, the effects of smog were not limited to the space observation alone. London railways too faced difficulty in taking accurate readings as their instruments were sensitive. In addition to this, the ever-expanding capital experienced dazzling light pollution.
It has been more than sixty years for the restrictions on the telescope use. After about sixty years, a new telescope has been installed at Greenwich Observatory. This will update the status of The Royal Observatory as working observatory. Now, the London’s air is clean. Also, the modern telescope filters possess the calibre to tune in the light pollution which facilitates them to observe the stars, nebulae, planets and even the galaxies.
Dr Louise Devoy says, “The observatory really started to wind down in 1948 because Greenwich had been expanding, and Greenwich Power Station was belching out smoke, so the telescopes were becoming useless. They also used to do magnetic and meteorological readings from here, but the railways and iron-framed buildings interfered with the signals, and the vibrations from the trains made accuracy impossible. With the new telescope, we can use filters and software to process it all out.” Dr Louise Devoy is the curator of The Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich marks 1675 as its birth year by Charles II. It was set-up with the purpose of improvising the sea navigation with the aid of astronomical devices by mapping the stars fixed locations.