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.

Latest News:

  • February 15th Open Evening Cancelled - The public open evening on Saturday 15th February has been cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. Please accept our apologies.
  • South West Astronomy FAIR - The South West Astronomy Fair 18th July 2020 A great day at The Norman Lockyer Observatory, Sidmouth. EX10 0NY.Tours of Norman Lockyer’s historic telescopeSolar Observing – looking at the sun with a specialised telescope.Scan the sky inside our Planetarium ShowsExhibition & Trade StandsTalks and DisplaysFood StallsFREE Parking.

NLO Showing Mond & McClean domes, and Planetarium

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.