Head East from the heart of Glasgow, and you’ll be lucky to come across one of four operational public observatories in Scotland – the Airdrie Observatory. This humble observatory is subtle, and there’s no better place if you want to become informed about the skies above.
The Airdrie Observatory has been open since 1896 and is owned by the North Lanarkshire Council but is operated by the Airdrie Astronomical Association (AAA). The Airdrie Observatory is a 30-minute drive from Glasgow’s city centre, so if you have any scientific interest or astronomical events, then it’s well worth the time to visit.
You can find the observatory in the Airdrie Library building, and it’s one of the only public observatories operating out of a library.
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Highlights of the Airdrie Observatory
Here are some highlights you can expect when visiting the Airdrie Public Observatory; we bet it’ll make you add this excellent observatory to your to-do list!
Attend the Observatory’s Open Evenings
Between September and May, the Airdrie Observatory is open for anyone who wants to learn about the beautiful cosmos above us. Their Observatory Open Evenings provide an excellent opportunity to learn about space, stars, and everything you can point a telescope at!
The folks at the Observatory are incredibly passionate about their work, which comes through during these Open Evenings. If you have an existing interest in astronomy, the dedicated curators at the Airdire Observatory are more than happy to oblige any questions.
See the Victorian Refracting Telescope
One of the pride pieces housed within this unique facility is a beautiful Victorian-era refracting telescope. The observatory has recently gone through a refurbishment, which included a complete overhaul of its historic telescope and a brand-new dome underneath it.
This significant historical monument is the cornerstone of the Observatory’s display, and its renewal has elevated the attraction for both local and foreign visitors alike. In addition to a guided tour with local curators, we highly recommend seeing this artefact.
Chat with local Astronomers
Whether you’re a complete beginner or an avid enthusiast of astronomy, the weekly meetings held by this public observatory are excellent for sharing passion about space and telescopes. Every Friday, you’ll join groups, societies, and clubs coming together and speaking about cutting-edge research, their findings and experiences, and plenty of other space-related questions.
If you have an evening free in Glasgow and astronomy excites you, you’ll find this a fascinating and rewarding experience. You can join these meetings at the New Wellwynd Parish Church in Airdrie.
Luckily, while the Airdrie Observatory is one of only a few public observatories in the country, it is also within one of Scotland’s most bustling cities. Glasgow has many accommodation options for you, no matter if you’re looking for a hotel with all the amenities or a self-catering home in the suburbs.
We’ve written a more detailed list of the best accommodation in Glasgow, so feel free to check out our guide.
Things to Do Nearby
Look at the local area if you want a few attractions to pair with the Airdrie Observatory. The Summerlee Scottish Museum of Industrial Life is an expansive and informative venue that grants visitors an in-depth look into the impact of the Industrial Revolution on Scotland and its people.
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