Jodrell Bank Observatory to bid for UNESCO World Heritage Site status

Is Jodrell Bank a world star? Observatory bids to stand alongside the Taj Mahal and Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Site

Is Jodrell Bank a world star? Observatory bids to stand alongside the Taj Mahal and Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Site

The observatory in the county of Cheshire, dominated by the iconic Lovell Telescope, is run by the University of Manchester.

Jodrell Bank Observatory is bidding to stand alongside the Taj Mahal and Stonehenge on the worldwide heritage stage.

"The Lovell Telescope in particular has become an icon for science and engineering and we look forward to showcasing the rich scientific heritage of this and the wider site on an global stage". Sir Lovell was a radio astronomer and was keen to probe cosmic rays after completion of his work on radar during the WWII.

Professor Teresa Anderson, director of the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, said: "We have been preparing the case for World Heritage Site inscription for some years now, so it's absolutely fantastic to reach this milestone. And hopefully, around 18 months afterwards, the site will be inscribed on the World Heritage List".

The observatory has just celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Lovell Telescope, which when it was completed in 1957, was the world's largest telescope with the dish spanning a diameter of more than 76 meters, and is now more powerful than as an icon of science and engineering.

The site was first used for radio astronomy in 1945 by Sir Bernard Lovell and his team and since then its astronomers have tracked Sputnik and discovered quasars.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester, said: "The university is very proud that our Jodrell Bank Observatory is going forward to UNESCO for inscription as a World Heritage Site". Every year around 2 lakh visitors come to the Discovery Centre to see the famous site.

Previous year the Government stepped in to veto plans for 120 new homes near the observatory after experts warned that radio interference from hundreds more domestic household appliances, such as hedge trimmers and microwave ovens, would play havoc with their instruments.

In July the Lake District became the latest United Kingdom site to be named a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Other British sites include Stonehenge, Westminster Abbey and the Liverpool waterfront.

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