National Maritime Museum: provision of new position encoders and control software for Royal Observatory Greenwich historic telescope

The client

The Royal Observatory Greenwich, today part of the National Maritime Museum


The Royal Observatory Greenwich houses one of the largest telescopes in the United Kingdon, the historic Great Equatorial 28-inch aperture refractor of 1893. The telescope is still in regular use for public viewing sessions, and the Observatory required an improved monitoring system, with position encoders, to ‘computerise’ it and boost its performance and usability.

What we did

Observatory Sciences provided new position encoders for the telescope, along with bespoke software, thus providing easy monitoring of the telescope's position via a computer monitor.

The result

The telescope is more usable, and among other benefits is its ability to locate and view astronomical objects in the daytime, when most members of the public visit the Observatory.


Encoder software runs on a PC using the RedHat Linux operating system; user interface implemented using Tcl/Tk.

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