The Sir Patrick Moore Observatory unveiled at Kielder

The Sky at Night team and Gary Fildes of The Kielder Observatory at the dedication of The Sir Patrick Moore Observatory.

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The Sky at Night team and Gary Fildes of The Kielder Observatory at the dedication of The Sir Patrick Moore Observatory.

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The largest facility at The Kielder Observatory, Northumberland has been named The Sir Patrick Moore Observatory in honour of the great astronomer and long serving presenter of the BBC’s The Sky at Night, who died in December last year.

The dedication ceremony took place at Kielder this weekend just as The Sky at Night team began filming the latest episode at the site.

Amatuer astronomer and comedian Jon Culshaw was given the task of unveiling a plaque at the observatory’s largest turret, home to a 0.5m Newtonian reflecting telescope, one of the biggest public scopes in the country.

Culshaw was joined at the ceremony by fellow presenters Paul Abel, Pete Lawrence, Chris Lintott, Chris North, and Lucie Green, as well as the observatory’s founder, director Gary Fildes.

“What a huge privilege this is,” said Fildes.

“When I started work on Kielder Observatory I knew how important astronomy was to the public but not how successful it would become. In our first four years we have had over 40,000 visitors and I bet every one of them was here in one way or another, because of Sir Patrick and The Sky At Night.”

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March’s episode of The Sky at Night will feature observations made at Kielder of asteroid 2012 DA14 as it made a particularly close flyby of Earth.