Alumni Services

Royal Observatory welcomes Carlyle Circle

The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh opened its doors to Carlyle Circle members to help the University recognise their pledges to the future.

Carlyle Circle event at Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

Astronomy has been taught at Edinburgh since its foundation in 1583 and thrived at Calton Hill, which became the home of the Royal Observatory in 1822. The facility moved to its current location on Blackford Hill in 1896, and is now one of the most unique scientific institutions in the UK, housing the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, the University’s Institute for Astronomy, and a visitor's centre.


On 14 November around 60 members of the Carlyle Circle attended a reception at the Royal Observatory, Edinbrugh (ROE) to celebrate their commitment to the future of the University. 

The Circle is made up of alumni and other benefactors who choose to support the University through a legacy gift, are invited to join the Carlyle Circle. There are nearly 1400 members worldwide and membership is marked by invitations to receptions, lectures and special events, such as the evening at ROE.

I enjoy being a member of the Carlyle Circle. It has provided me with the opportunity to talk to other members about the University, about our time there, and about the work it continues to do. The events I’ve attended so far have allowed me to visit places and see things that I had never come across before.

Muriel M MacIverCarlyle Circle member

An insight into astronomy

The event opened with talks from Chris Cox, Vice-Principal Philanthropy and Advancement, Professor Dave Robertson, Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Science and Engineering and the key note speaker, Professor Gillian Wright, Director of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre.

Professor Wright gave a fascinating overview of ROE's collaborative work and the main projects the Blackford Hill research teams are working on. She also spoke about the new Higgs Centre for Innovation, named in honour of Professor Peter Higgs, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013. The Centre will support start-up businesses with the aim of creating new market opportunities in big data and space technologies and is due to open in 2018.

Admiring views and manuscripts

Following the talks, many members took the opportunity to speak to the academics in the stunning setting of the ROE library. The guests also had a chance to visit the rooftop and admire magnificent views of Edinburgh, as well as perusing the Crawford Collection of books and manuscripts, one of the most extensive and valuable astronomical libraries in the world.

This unique event venue, together with the knowledge and skills of the academic and library staff, were positively received by all guests in attendance.

“The visit to the Royal Observatory included a talk on the projects that the University is involved in, which was very interesting. The highlight for me was the trip up onto the roof, where the views of Edinburgh were stunning.”

Muriel M MacIver

Your legacy

If you are considering leaving a gift to the University in your Will after taking care of loved ones, please contact Morag Murison:

Email Morag Murison

Related links

Carlyle Circle