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. 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.

Latest News:

  • The observatory re-opens on 27th January - At 7.15pm there will be a themed talk about the “Winter Constellations” followed by a planetarium show and historic telescope tour with viewing if clear. Please see the opening times page for our full 2022 programme. We propose holding two open evenings/month, Covid willing!

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.