Star-gazing facility to be named after Annie Maunder

A NEW facility at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich (ROG) is to be named after Strabane’s most famous scientist, Annie Maunder.

Announced last month, the move comes after it was revealed that the ROG is to start studying the sky again after a break of 60 years.

British astronomy’s historic home has installed new state-of-the-art telescopes in Altazimuth Pavilion, which has also undergone a restoration. And it is this new facility which will be named after Maunder, one of the first female scientists to work at the ROG.

In the past few decades, stargazing has moved out of urban areas where you can get darker skies. However a combination of new technology and cleaner air means that astronomers will be able to use the Royal Observatory Greenwich again.

Annie Scott Dill Russell was born in Strabane before moving to Cambridge in England to study. The daughter of a  reverend, she became one of the first female scientists to work at the Royal Observatory, where she was known as a ‘lady computer.’

Working alongside her husband Edward Walter Maunder, she is known the world over for her recording of the dark sun spots which pepper the sun.

Today, she has a crater on the far side of the moon named in her honour.

The ground floor of the Altazimuth Pavilion will also have an exhibition space, with a section dedicated to telling the story of Annie Maunder.

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