Founded by Sir Norman Lockyer in 1912, the observatory in Sidmouth, on Salcombe Hill, was the centre for astrophysical and geophysical research until the 1980s. Today the observatory is managed and run by volunteers in support of science education for the public, schools and universities.

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The society provides facilities for scientific projects, educational courses, instructional visits by schools, and the recreational scientific interests of visitors and members.

There are many public open days throughout the year, with no need to book full details are available in the 2005 brochure, available from the TIC, library, museum and the observatory, and a visit is a really eye-opening experience.

The observatory also accepts pre-booked group bookings, and there is whole range of fascinating educational courses available, from a Foundation Astronomy Course and a GCSE Tutorial Course to an introduction to astronomy entitled The Universe About Us.

Among the fascinating historic telescopes you will see are the Kensington 10-inch refracting telescope dated 1884, which marks the start of astrophysics research in Britain, and the Lockyer six-inch refractor, built in 1863 and rebuilt in 1871, and marking the start of solar physics research in the country.

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