JODRELL Bank Observatory is bidding to join the likes of the Taj Mahal and Stonehenge on the international heritage stage.

The University of Manchester-run site in Goostrey has been selected as the next UK candidate to go forward for nomination to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a World Heritage Site.

The observatory, which recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of the iconic Lovell Telescope, would also join Machu Picchu and the Grand Canyon if successful.

With new listed buildings also recently announced, papers for nomination are now being prepared and will be submitted to UNESCO in January 2018.

Professor Teresa Anderson, director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, said: “We have been preparing the case for the World Heritage Site inscription for Jodrell Bank Observatory for some years now, so it’s absolutely fantastic to reach this milestone.

“The Lovell Telescope in particular has become an icon for science and engineering, and we look forward to showcasing the rich scientific heritage of this and the wider site on an international stage.”

In preparation for inclusion in the World Heritage List, the site is also improving its visitor facilities, and working on a project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to create a spectacular new gallery space that will celebrate the ‘can do’ story of the creation of the new science of radio astronomy.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice chancellor of UoM, said: “The university is very proud that our Jodrell Bank Observatory is going forward to UNESCO for inscription as a World Heritage Site.

“As an institution that is known for its internationally leading research, it is very fitting that our rich heritage in science has received such acclaim.”

Professor Michael Garrett, director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics and holder of the Sir Bernard Lovell Chair in astronomy and astrophysics, added: “Jodrell Bank has played a leading role in radio astronomy for more than 70 years, work which is reflected in the landscape of the site.

“This rich history is still being written with the execution of state-of-the art astronomical research programmes on the Lovell Telescope and the e-MERLIN array of national facility radio telescopes, plus our hosting of the international headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array.”

The world’s largest telescope when it was completed in 1957, the iconic Lovell Telescope is now more powerful than ever and has become an icon of science and engineering.

Earlier this year, the site’s smaller Mark II radio telescope was listed as a Grade I structure by Historic England, following in the footsteps of its larger neighbour, listed in 1988.

Part of a converted ex-army radar antenna, known as the Searchlight Aerial, was given Grade II listing, along with the Electrical Workshop, Link Hut, Park Royal building and Control Building.

The Discovery Centre welcomes around 185,000 visitors each year, including 26,000 school pupils on educational visits.

It showcases the heritage of the site and the research work of the University’s Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics to a wide audience and aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Its listing as a World Heritage Site would, officially recognise the observatory’s cultural significance as of ‘outstanding universal value’.