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:

  • closure of NLO public open events - In light of public health concerns, the observatory will remain closed for public open evenings and group visits to guard against the spread of COVID-19. We anticipate that this will be for the next few weeks until the situation becomes clearer. Please accept our apologies.
  • British Science Week Event Postponed - In the light of the ongoing threat of Corona Virus, the NLO in consultation with our colleagues at Colyton Grammar School have decided to postpone the event from 7th March until later in the year. We are very sorry to have to do this, but felt it was in the best interest to all in … Continue reading British Science Week Event Postponed

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.