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Ascot (MPC Code 986)

Ascot was an observatory used by Dr. R.L. Waterfield (1900-1986) in the grounds of Imperial College London's field station at Silwood Park, Sunninghill, near Ascot and was assigned Minor Planet Observatory code 986.

The observatory was set up in 1948/49 (see Proceedings of Observatories in MNRAS, Vol. 109, p.178) and operated until 1968 when Dr. Waterfield moved the instruments to Woolston, Somerset (MPC Observatory code 993).

Some details of the circumstances leading to the observatory being built in the grounds at Silwood Park can be found in the book "The History Of Imperial College London, 1907-2007" by Hannah Gay, publically accessible portions of the book are available and reproduced with highlighting here:

Mention of the observatory can be found on page 3 of Dr. Waterfield's obituary in Journal of the British Astronomical Association, vol.97, no.4, p.211-214

The exact location of the observatory within Silwood Park is unclear, but this Google Earth image assuming a central location within the current extent of the buildings gives the coordinates as:

Longitude 000 38' 22' W, latitude 51 24' 32" N, height 69 m

(Incidentally, the house at lower right, just above the "Go" of Google Earth is Tittenhurst Park, where John Lennon wrote Imagine).

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