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'Momentous' times for Scilly astronomy

A member of the St Martins Community Observatory group COSMOS has said this is a "momentous" time for astronomy on the island.

COSMOS chair Val Thomas and members of the committee celebrating the funding news

The group was recently given a grant of £59,000 from the Government's Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) towards the construction of an Observatory.

Secretary Charlie Payne said they are "utterly delighted" by the news, telling the upcoming issue of Scilly Now & Then magazine: "Our application has been ongoing for the best part of two years, so we are thrilled that all our efforts have finally borne fruit (or rather, domes)."

The Council of the Isles of Scilly awarded planning permission for the project in November 2016. Applicant Terry Perkins later said it could be a "major educational asset" for the islands.

It is now hoped that the observatory could open this autumn.

The plan is to construct two prefabricated glass fibre observatory domes, each housing one telescope, as well as a “warm” room containing computers and equipment to “allow remote viewing through the telescopes via a camera link”.

The observatory will be built on the vacant field at the rear of St Martin's Community Centre.

Charlie added: "We still have a good way to go to reach our target, so we can't rest on our laurels just yet, though this is a very exciting start to our Summer. If you would like to help us in any part towards our fundraising, please do get in touch."

Find out how to contact COSMOS through their website at


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