Planning to explore how time achieved its virtue in today’s world? Head to the place where Prime Meridian marks its existence, The Royal Observatory of Greenwich in London, which bears the latitudes and longitudes of each country in the world.
How to reach The Royal Observatory of Greenwhich?
The nearest train station to The Royal Observatory in Greenwich station, accessible via London’s popular mode of transport, DLR. The Observatory is at a 5-minute walk from the station. Greenwich is situated in one of the boroughs of London.
Entry tickets cost £9.50 for adults and £5.00 for children.
Why was the observatory found?
Long back, measuring time was one of the greatest challenges for cruisers across seas and oceans. Many times, a wrong estimate of time even lead to the wreckage of ships. Each country kept its own time and there was no standardized measurement of time on an international scale.
Places to visit in the Observatory
Prime Meridian is the line which divides the world into eastern and western hemispheres. By the end of a conference in 1884, the Prime Meridian in Greenwich became the owner of 0-degree longitude!. The free version of this line which divides the world into eastern and western hemispheres is visible in the courtyard of the observatory.
In the year 1675, Royal John Flamsteed laid the foundation of this observatory in Greenwich. Appointed by King Charles II, his main task was to improve the accuracy of British star chart s. The Flamsteed house became a pivotal point of all observations related to the moon and stars. For 40 yrs, he used many telescopes and instruments to record time and altitude of stars crossing his meridian line. His family and many of Flamsteed’s servants lived in this house. With time, many people joined the site. The house exhibits many of their living habits, dietary plans and the story of its development into a major observatory where instruments from the 18th and 19th century are showcased to understand how the concept of time evolved. By this time, cultures around the world have developed their own instruments and charts. Yet none was as accurate to determine longitude at sea.
The Octagon Room
Also known as ‘The Star Room’ or ‘The Great Room’, the room is one of the surviving interiors by Sir Christopher Wren. The room is octagon in shape with 13 ft high windows which helped to place telescopes and make important observations.
Another room in the observatory showcases all the instruments and techniques which were used by astronauts for centuries to realize the perception of time, latitudes, and longitudes.
A sundial which measures time with the direction of the rays of the sun. Each day at 1 p.m, a time ball is hoisted halfway up the mast of Flamsteed House. This was a common practice as the ball was dropped at a predetermined time to signal navigators about the time. The time ball was installed in 1833 by Maudsley, Son, and Field. It helped anyone in sight of the Royal Observatory to know Greenwich time.
Peter Harrison Planetarium
There are various shows at the Peter Harrison Planetarium which feature various shows related to the Universe, with expert commentaries from researchers.
Where to eat?
Head to the Greenwich Market which lies very close to the Observatory. Here, you would find numerous stalls offering accessories, eateries, desserts and much more! There are a variety of cuisines you would want to like to relish!
Other places to visit in Greenwich
The National Maritime Museum (One of the best maritime museums in the UK)
Cutty Sark (A historic sailing ship)
Greenwich Park (Just near the observatory, it gives you some of the best views of Greenwich!)