Jeremiah Horrocks Observatory. It’s named after Jeremiah Horrocks, the Lancashire astronomer who correctly predicted the transit of Venus in 1639. See details on Preston and District Astronomical Society’s website, at padas.org.uk.
On the day we visited the observatory it was raining. But, even so, the park looks beautiful. I’ve shared a couple of pictures at the end of the post. It is a park I would love to go for a walk in, on a day with a more friendly weather.
The Jeremiah Horrocks Observatory officially opened on 29th June 1927, so it would coincide with a total solar eclipse. That attracted 30,000 people to witness it in the park. There was an observatory in another building, but it was into disrepair. George James Gibbs was curator at the Preston Municipal Observatory and he chose the site for the new building. It was built by Preston council. Gibbs was an inventor, in 1906 he patented the Helio-chronometer, the most accurate time keeper of its day.
Jeremiah Horrocks was born in 1619, in Toxteth, Liverpool. He studied at Cambridge University as a SIZAR (poor Scholar), from 13 to 17, when he left without taking a degree. Horrocks lived at Carr House near Preston, where it is believed he taught children. Also, he was a lay preacher or bible reader in St. Michael’s. Here he practised astronomy in his spare time.
Horrocks worked on Kepler’s predictions for the planet Venus. He calculated that the planet would transit the face of the Sun on 24th November 1639. His calculations were accurate, and he got William Crabtree to confirm it, therefore entering the history books. He died in a mysterious way at 22, on 3rd January 1641.
This telescope was originally acquired by Gibbs for the Deepdale Observatory in 1912, an 8 inch Thomas Cooke Refractor. The Council bought the telescope for £200 from a widow. It was built by Thomas Cooke in 1867.
Deepdale Observatory was the first one in Preston, built in 1881. It was opened to the public and as many as 700 people would visit it each year.
This is a piece of meteorite. It is heavier than a rock of a similar size.
This is something else though. It is a piece of Earth pushed into the atmosphere after an impact with a meteorite. The silica in the rock made patchy glassy bits on it. It fell down on the ground and now we can admire it.
Jeremiah Horrocks Observatory is in Moor Park, off Blackpool Road, Preston, Lancashire, PR1. More precisely, is located in the north-west corner of Moor Park, between Garstang Road and Blackpool Road. There are on-road parking spaces.