On my last full day in London, the whole class took a trip to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. The Royal Observatory was the home and workplace of many of the Astronomer Royals, starting with John Flamsteed when he was appointed the position in 1675 by Charles II. The Observatory is also the home of the Prime Meridian, which is the longitudinal line that separates the East and West hemispheres.
When you tour the Flamsteed home you are transported back in time where you can see the various rooms within the home and learn about the families that lived there. Once past the living quarters you are brought to the Octagon room. This is where the Astronomer Royals and their assistants would observe the change in the stars and planets. This is also where they started their work on time keepers and longitude.
Longitude was very important for the Astronomer Royals to figure out. Longitude would help sailors to navigate the seas better, and would help cargo to be delivered at a more constant rate. But before they tackled longitude, the needed to figure out how to tell proper time on the seas. Clocks on land used pendulums to keep time, but the rocking of the boats would off set the swing of the pendulums. This problem was solved when a time keeping device was created that did not depend on gravity.
The Royal Observatory is located In Greenwich UK, just around a 20 minute walk from the Greenwich Station.
The walk up to the Observatory is literally and uphill battle, but once you reach the top of the hill the views are breathtaking!!
Entrance into the astronomy centre is free, but for the minimal price of £9.50 an adult, access is granted to Flamsteed house and Meridian courtyard.