HIGH Legh residents will be able to get up close and personal with the sun, moon, stars and planets thanks to the launch of a community observatory.

John Bromley-Davenport, author of ‘Space Has No Frontier’, will officially open High Legh’s community astronomical observatory on Abbey Leys Farm, Peacock Lane, this Saturday, June 21.

The observatory is the result of two years of hard work by project co-founders Mark Holmes and the Rev Jennifer Croft and the High Legh Community Observatory Steering Group (HCLO).

“This unique community observatory is open to all and will help to promote science and astronomy, it will engage with the science and religion debate, and it will work closely with both primary and secondary schools,” said Rev Croft.

“It will bring people together from across the community, including local astronomical societies, all with a shared interest in amateur astronomy.”

The idea for the project was first presented to the High Legh community in January 2012 by Mark and Revd Croft, both amateur astronomers.

In 2013, owners of Abbey Leys Farm, the Harrisons, offered a site for building the observatory, and grants were secured from Cheshire East, WREN and High Legh Parish Council to help towards the £14,000 cost.

The observatory consists of a dome and a warm room, hosts a Meade 6” refractor a Meade 12” Schmidt-Cassegrain, and a 12” Newtonian telescope.

Rev Croft said: “We hope that it will grow as a community resource, allowing and enabling access for all, but also that our site will be a foundation for good quality research and enable us to link up with other observatories to take part in activities, such as Stargazing Live.

“Five years from now, who knows, we might even attempt to build our own telescope.

“This is the beginning of a new concept, which might encourage other communities to do the same as us.”

The launch event will bee taking place at 2.30pm on Saturday.

For more information, contact Rev Croft on 01925 759132.