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Mills Observatory, Dundee

4.2
#9 of 13 in Museums in Dundee
The Mills Observatory in Dundee, Scotland, is the first purpose-built public astronomical observatory in the UK. Built in 1935, the observatory is classically styled in sandstone and has a distinctive 7 m dome, which houses a Victorian refracting telescope, a small planetarium, and display areas. The dome is one of two made from papier-mâché to survive in the UK, the other being at the Godlee Observatory.TelescopesThe main telescope is a 400mm Dobsonian reflector that was acquired in 2013. The observatory also houses a Victorian 0.25m Cooke refractor, with a focal length of 3.75 m. It was made in York in 1871 by Thomas Cooke and the optical components are of the highest quality. The telescope is actually older than the building. The dome also houses a 0.3m Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, which was purchased in 2006. When the Mills Observatory opened on 28 October 1935, it originally housed a 450mm reflecting telescope, constructed by the Newcastle based company of Grubb Parsons. The dome itself is made of papier-mâché with a steel frame, and was also supplied by Grubb Parsons. Refracting telescopes have long been regarded as the superior instrument for planetary observing. During the winter evening hours, given clear sky conditions, the telescope is used to show the public the night sky.PlanetariumThe planetarium is based around a Viewlex Apollo projector, which simulates the night sky on a domed roof in a darkened room. Around 1000 stars are displayed, along with the naked eye planets and the Milky Way. Auxiliary units simulate a rotating galaxy, and provide pictures of astronomical objects. Seating is limited to 20 for public shows.
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Mills Observatory Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
73 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • We were unlucky as the sky was full of cloud, therefore we couldn’t see anything, however the stuff kept us busy with interesting time for a long time :-)  more »
  • We had a beautiful walk up the hill in autumn. It's a bit of a climb, but well worth it. The observatory looks like it comes out of a Lovecraft-story. If you walk a little further down the hill, you c...  more »
  • Informative friendly staff. Really interesting. Well worth the walk up. Amazing to see the stars and understand them  more »
Google
  • Place was closed. In fact, the observatory will be CLOSED BETWEEN APRIL TO SEPTEMBER. The opening hours on Google is WRONG. It will only be open from October to March. Observatory will be open between April and September for "various public events". I took a photo of the opening hours which was pinned outside the observatory. Visit the Dundee Law for a good 360 view of Dundee. This observatory is surrounded by trees, obstructing your view.
  • Marvelous. What a difference seeing the stars from a dark spot. Using the telescopes was easy with help from the staff. The guys were very friendly ,helpful and knowledgeable. Able to answer any questions we had. Next time I am in Dundee I will go again
  • This is a small observatory on the top of a hill. The telescope itself was closed due to the weather but we were able to go onto the balcony for excellent views and the ground floor has displays and a screening room as well as a gift shop with very helpful staff. There are toilets and indoor seating.
  • Place was closed. In fact, the observatory will be CLOSED BETWEEN APRIL TO SEPTEMBER. The opening hours on Google is WRONG. It will only be open from October to March. Observatory will be open between April and September for "special events". I took a photo of the opening hours which was pinned outside the observatory.
  • How many cities have a public observatory, brilliant friendly staff, a planetarium show and volunteer astronomers showing you the night sky
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