The City Observatory is an astronomical observatory on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is also known as the Calton Hill Observatory.The site is enclosed by a boundary wall with a monument to John Playfair, president of the Edinburgh Astronomical Institution, in the southeast corner. The oldest part is the Gothic Tower in the southwest corner, facing Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle. It is also known as Observatory House, the Old Observatory, or after its designer James Craig House.
The central building with the appearance of a Greek temple is the Playfair Building, named after the building's designer William Henry Playfair. This houses the 6-inch (15 cm) refractor in its dome and the 6.4-inch (16 cm) transit telescope in its eastern wing. The largest dome of the site is the City Dome in the northeast corner. During the early 20th century this contained a 22-inch (56 cm) refractor.
The City Observatory
In the wake of the Royal Observatory moving to Blackford Hill, a new City Observatory was created on Calton Hill toward the end of the 19th century. The 6-inch (15 cm) Cooke refractor was donated by William McEwan and installed in the dome on the Playfair Building. Additional domes were built for a 13-inch (33 cm) reflector donated by Robert Cox and for a 13-inch (33 cm) refractor transferred from the Dunecht observatory. Only remnants of these two domes remain today. The City Dome was built to house a 22-inch (56 cm) refractor. This did not perform very well and was dismantled in 1926. The dome remained and is now a lecture theatre.
The observatory opened in 1898 with William Peck as City Astronomer. After his death in 1925 his assistant John McDougal Field continued to run the City Observatory.In 1924 the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh was formed with Field as first president. William Peck and Ralph Sampson, the then Astronomer Royal for Scotland, were honorary presidents. Field died in 1937; and in 1938 the observatory was leased to the Society, which ran the City Observatory until vandalism and theft of roofing material rendered the site unusable in 2009.
Cooke / McEwan -Refractor, 15 cm aperture
Fraunhofer / Repsold -Transit telescope, 16 cm aperture