Jodrell Bank is seeped in a heritage of history, combining current world-leading scientific research, and is a world leader in radio astronomy-related research and technology development.

Home to the iconic Lovell Telescope, astronomy research at Jodrell Bank Observatory began in 1945, when Sir Bernard Lovell returned from the war to resume his physics research on the University main campus in Manchester. The first observations at Jodrell Bank were made on 14 Dec 1945, 70 years ago!

The Lovell Telescope was first used in 1957 to track the launch rocket of Sputnik 1 at the dawn of the space age. A Grade I listed building and the world’s third largest steerable telescope, it is internationally regarded as an icon of science and engineering. 

Jodrell Bank has been a world-leader in public engagement with astronomy for decades: beginning with one of the first public science centres in the 1960s and continuing to the opening of a new Discovery Centre in 2011. The new Centre exemplifies the strong public interest in “blue skies” research, and aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers by directly engaging them with science at a major UK research facility.

The Discovery Centre has already pioneered several innovative ways of engaging new audiences, including the ‘Live from Jodrell Bank’ Music and Science Festivals, open-air cinema nights and its ‘Galaxy Garden’. Another major public engagement activity is the BBC TV series Stargazing Live. An annual series of three nights of live TV presented by Prof. Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain, and broadcast from Jodrell Bank each year since 2011.

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