Welcome to the Norman Lockyer Observatory
The Norman Lockyer Observatory is both a historical observatory and home to an active amateur astronomical society. It is a centre for amateur astronomy, meteorology, radio astronomy, and the promotion of science education.
The observatory is regularly open to the public, staffed entirely by volunteers, and each summer hosts the South West Astronomy Fair. You can see a list of our opening times and astronomy courses, and also the news about what is happening. Enquiries can be make through our contact form.
We have a Youtube channel where videos and live events are available.
Please note that the observatory is currently closed, as it is not possible to safely distance visitors in the enclosed spaces of our domes and planetarium.
- Lightning Detection at the NLO - The Observatory now has a live lightning detection station as part of the Blitzortung network
- Sidmouth Science Festival 2020 - Enjoy the 2020 Sidmouth Science Festival from the comfort of your own home.
- Devon Dark Skies 2020 - A virtual planetarium tour of the night sky – streaming 23rd October at 8:30pm
Norman Lockyer was a Victorian amateur astronomer, who discovered the element Helium in the Sun’s corona in 1868 and was one of the founders of the science journal Nature in 1869. He became the director of the Solar Physics Observatory at South Kensington and the first professor of astronomical physics in the Normal School of Science (now the Royal College of Science) in 1887. He was knighted in 1897.
After his retirement to Sidmouth, Lockyer obtained support in 1912 for the building of the Hill Observatory, renamed the Norman Lockyer Observatory following his death in 1920.