Jul 252016
 

Camera Obscura.549 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2ND

Edinburgh is home to the oldest camera obscura in Britain, which first opened in 1853. The original proprietor of this popular tourist attraction was Maria Theresa Short, who came from a family of Edinburgh scientific instrument makers and had previously run a Popular Observatory on Calton Hill, before this was closed by the City Council in 1851. The camera obscura allows visitors to view scenes of the surrounding streets, projected onto a large table in the viewing room. Nowadays the other rooms in the tower are given over to a variety of exhibitions on optics.

The Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is open to the public on purchase of a ticket. See link below for times and prices.

Detail of the Camero Obscura tower.

Detail of the Camero Obscura tower.

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Apr 172016
 

38 Calton Hill, Edinburgh, EH7 5AA

The City Observatory on Calton Hill.

 

An observatory on Calton Hill was first proposed by Colin Maclaurin, Edinburgh’s professor of mathematics, in 1736. However, these plans came to nothing until Thomas Short brought a 12-foot reflecting telescope to the city in 1776, with the intention of opening a public observatory as a commercial enterprise. The university helped him with the cost of building the observatory on condition it was open to students. Short’s observatory became the property of the city on his death, but his daughter Maria Theresa ran her own observatory on Calton Hill before moving to a new site on Castlehill in 1850.

 

The Gothic Tower at the Edinburgh City Observatory on Calton Hill, 1792.

The Gothic Tower at the Edinburgh City Observatory on Calton Hill, 1792.

The Playfair Building at the Edinburgh City Observatory on Calton Hill, 1824.

The Playfair Building at the Edinburgh City Observatory on Calton Hill, 1824.

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