(ROE) An observatory situated on Blackford Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland, that was founded in 1818, gaining a Royal Charter in 1822. Originally sited on Calton Hill, Edinburgh, it was relocated to its present position in 1896. During nearly two centuries from its foundation, the ROE developed as an international center of research. In addition to astrophysical observations, it was concerned with the development of advanced technologies and their applications in astronomical and space research. From 1957 it established itself as a world leader in the analysis of photographic plates. In 1970 it introduced GALAXY, an automatic plate-measuring machine that was the forerunner of COSMOS. During the 1970s and 1980s it built up an immense Plate Library of thousands of photographs taken with the UK Schmidt Telescope in Australia, an instrument it originally administered on behalf of its funding body, the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC). The observatory also managed the 3.8-meter UK Infrared Telescope and the 15-meter James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, both in Hawaii, for the same body. In 1994 responsibility for funding the ROE was transferred to the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC). In 1998, under the PPARC's program to rationalize its funding activities (a program that saw the closure of the Royal Greenwich Observatory), all the UK's overseas observatories and instruments became independent, including those administered by the ROE. The ROE itself became the site of the new United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC). Its technology and research functions were shared between the UK ATC and the Institute of Astronomy, a department of the University of Edinburgh. See also Astronomer Royal.
After some careful consideration, the two sites suggested to Prof Randall are the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, where there is a fixed camera, and the town of Thurso, further north, around which are several active observers.