THE Queen will operate the iconic Lovell Telescope during a visit next week to the Jodrell Bank Observatory.

Her Majesty will be visiting the world-famous observatory to mark the site’s inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Queen is to visit Cheshire on Thursday, March 19, taking in the Bentley Motors factory before the Jodrell Bank Observatory and the Square Kilometre Array Global Headquarters.

Her Majesty will visit Bentley to mark the manufacturer’s Centenary. During the visit The Queen will meet long-serving staff, apprentices and members of the restoration team, before viewing some of the traditional materials used on site.

Three generations of cars will be on display, including the 1939 Corniche, the Flying Spur, and Bentley’s new concept car. On departure Her Majesty will unveil a plaque before signing the Visitor’s Book.

The Queen will go on to Jodrell Bank Observatory, one of the world’s leading radio astronomy observatories, to mark the site’s inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

During the visit, Her Majesty will operate the iconic Lovell Telescope – the world’s third largest steerable radio telescope and learn about the Observatory’s role in our understanding of the universe.

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At Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre The Queen will meet school children engaging in hands-on science activities before unveiling a plaque to commemorate the visit. On departure Her Majesty will plant two sapling apple trees, grown from apple pips from Isaac Newton’s Apple Tree, one of which was taken into space by astronaut Tim Peake.

The Queen will continue to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Global headquarters – an international collaboration to deliver transformational research in radio astronomy located at the Jodrell Bank site. After hearing a brief overview of the project, Her Majesty will attend a private lunch.

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Part of the University of Manchester, Jodrell Bank Observatory is one of the world's leading radio astronomy observatories. Founded in 1945, Jodrell Bank Observatory was a pioneer of a completely new science: the exploration of the Universe using radio waves instead of visible light. The site’s Discovery Centre welcomes more than 160,000 visitors every year, including 25,000 schoolchildren.

On July 7, 2019, in recognition of its internationally significant heritage, science and cultural impact, Jodrell Bank Observatory became the UK’s 32nd UNESCO World Heritage Site. The SKA project is building the world’s largest radio telescope, with international scientists, engineers and policy makers.