The Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire – site of the world-famous Lovell radio telescope – has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
The observatory, which is owned by Manchester University, joins international sites including Stonehenge, Machu Picchu and the Great Wall of China.
The award recognises the role that Jodrell Bank has played in transforming our understanding of the universe. The site has played a pioneering role in the development of radio astronomy, tracking spacecraft in the early space race, and carrying out research into quasars, pulsars and gravitational lenses.
It is most famous as the home one of the world’s largest steerable radio telescopes: the Lovell Telescope, which was named after its creator, the late Sir Bernard Lovell.
Today, Jodrell operates the UK’s national e-MERLIN radio telescope and hosts the global headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array, a radio telescope project that will build the world’s largest telescope, comprised of a network of instruments sited in South Africa and Australia.
Commenting on the latest award Teresa Anderson, director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre said: “This is wonderful news and a great day in the history of Jodrell Bank. It honours the pioneering work of Sir Bernard Lovell and the early scientists here, together with the world leading research that continues to this day.”
Professor Michael Garrett, director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics and Sir Bernard Lovell Chair of Astrophysics, said: “We’re very proud that the contribution of the Observatory and its staff, have been recognised at the very highest level. We continue to explore the Universe with e-MERLIN and our participation in the European VLBI Network, and we look forward to playing a major role in the scientific exploitation of the Square Kilometre Array.”