An investment has helped ensure an observatory’s telescope is now accessible for wheelchair users. Kielder Observatory has invested £10,000 in a fully automated Ritchey Chretein 16inch telescope. The new telescope utilises the same powerful optical system as the Hubble space telescope. Gary Fildes, founder director and lead astronomer said:
“This system makes a real statement of inclusivity from the observatory team. “It is our explicit wish to provide a safe and caring environment for all who wish to visit us and engage with our universe. “Systems provided by this new investment mean that we can now reach a wider audience and make astronomy accessible for wheelchair users.”
David Burdus, access consultant, said: “I visited the new facility following the installation of the telescope as viewing the night sky through a powerful telescope has been an ambition of mine for years now, so when an Observatory right here in Northumberland rang me to have a look, I couldn’t believe my luck! “The views were everything I had hoped for and more – crystal clear and breath-taking.
“So often venues are easy to get into but the facilities aren’t. “Well done Kielder Observatory and I look forward to further visits including to the new observatory which is due to open later this year.” In 2017 the observatory expect over 23,000 and in the eight years since its opening, more than 80,000 visitors have gazed at the skies.