The Greenwich Royal Observatory includes Flamsteed House and the Harrison Timekeepers ⇐. In the midst is a small garden with this very impressive Dolphin Sun Dial.
The sun-dial is self-adjusting. As the height of the sun changes with the time of the year, the shadow position changes its height and so indicates a corrected time..
The Greenwich Royal Observatory and Flamsteed House.
Inside the onion dome is the largest refracting telescope in the UK. First used in 1893, it remains one of the largest refracting telescopes ever built. Entry is free except the night sky observation evening. For more and to find out about night sky observation evenings please click here ⇒ .
The Planetarium ⇒for which there is a charge.
The Astronomy Center ⇒ is mostly educational and is free to enter.
Astrolabes and Armillary Spheres were used to predict/exhibit planet and moon positions..
Visitors to the Astronomy Center can touch part of the Gibeon Meteorite ⇒. At 4.5 billion years old it is the oldest thing that a mere earthling might touch.
An early spectroscope. Spectroscopy ⇒.
Outside the Meridian Courtyard ⇐ is a 24 hour electric clock. The use of roman numerals means that it is actually indicates 2 pm.
And, there is a lot more to see and do at Wonderful Greenwich⇐.
London Water and Steam Museum Garden
14 pics. Cities could not grow beyond a few tens of thousands and civilisation could not flourish without a plentiful supply of clean water. Otherwise epidemics of water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid would devastate the population. The development of filtration and pumping by steam engine was vital to progress.
The London Water and Steam Museum ⇒ (there is an entrance fee) explains the advances in water cleanliness and houses a number of steam-driven pumps, including some truly massive devices. On designated days some of the engines can be seen working.
The other essential was the disposal of waste and an ornate example of this can be found in east London at the renovated Crossness Pumping Station ⇐.
To get to the Water and Steam Museum: On Leaving Kew Bridge station, turn right, pass the very pleasant Express Tavern ⇒, and turn into Green Dragon Lane. The tall chimney is an easy landmark.
Alternatively Kew Gardens ⇐ which includes Kew Palace is just over the nearby bridge..
There is more about our use of steam and the role of fossil fuels at the Science Museum ⇐.
The above Boulton and Watt 64 inch (piston/cylinder diameter of 64 inches) has a beam weighing 15 tons and delivered 2.5 million gallons of water per day and was last used in 1944.
This is the 90 inch Cornish engine with a beam weighing 32 tons and delivered 6.4 million gallons of water per day. It was last used in 1943. The steam cylinder is the massive dark object at the far end. The nearer cylinder is the water pump.
This monster is the 100 inch Cornish engine. The 100 inch (8 foot and 4 inches wide) steam cylinder is the dark object the distance. The beam weighs a staggering 54 tons and it once delivered 7.5 million gallons of water per day. Built in 1869 it remained in service until 1958.
The above is the Waddon steam pumping engine. It was the last steam driven water pump used in the UK and remained in service until 1983.
Above is a triple expansion engine. Designed to be more efficient as most of the steam pressure is used by passing the output of one cylinder to the next.
On designated days (website ⇒) a small steam locomotive provides rides, although the track is very short.
On the way back is the Express Tavern ⇒ which has a very pleasant menu and a broad range of beers. Across the nearby bridge is Kew Gardens ⇐.
Latrobe Gold Nugget made of rare crystallized gold.
At the end of the Minerals Hall at London’s Natural History Museum is The Vault which contains a number of precious objects including the Latrobe Gold Nugget, the Medusa Emerald, the Cursed Amethyst and a Martian Meteorite. 19 more pics ↓ . And, more at the Earth’s Treasury and Earth’s Treasury 2.
These are just a few of the rare items in the vault.
Yellow Sapphire and Padparadscha
Sapphires come in various colours and, like ruby, are made of corundum. The orange/pink is a rare colouring of sapphire known as padparadscha.
Rain in Seawater – An Aquamarine variety of Beryl
The Scotch Koh-i-Noor – A Goshenite variety of Beryl
It is a bit of a mystery how it got its name, as it probably came from Brazil.
The Hope Chrysoberyl
This was once a part of the collection of Henry Philip Hope along with the Hope Diamond.
The Medusa Emerald
The medusa is regarded as one of the world’s finest mineral specimens.
Crystal within a Crystal
A pink morganite crystal that grew around a blue aquamarine core.
It is amazing to think what might be found inside an ordinary looking rock. 🙂
The Cursed Amethyst
The Cursed Amethyst
It is reputed that the Cursed Amethyst was stolen from an Indian temple in 1857 and then passed through several unfortunate hands before being owned by Edward Heron-Allen who bequeathed it to the museum. Whilst Heron-Allen owned the gem he had it kept in a bank vault within seven locked boxes. The whole story can be found here.
The Tissant Meteorite from Mars
The Tissant Meteorite landed near the village of Tissant in Morocco in 2011, taking 700,000 years to travel from Mars having being ejected by that planet. Its particular importance derives from the indications that there was once liquid water on Mars. If there is water, now beneath the surface, then solar-powered electricity can be used to split the H2O into Hydrogen and Oxygen. The second can be used to support life, and both together as rocket fuel.
On the other hand, we could take more care of our own planet first. 🙂
The Minerals Hall
With thousands of specimens.
More at the Earth’s Treasury.