The Historic Jodrell Bank Observatory Has Just Gained UNESCO World Heritage Status

The observatory has played a key role in furthering our understanding of the universe.

Getting included on the UNESCO World Heritage List is no easy feat. For starters, the site must demonstrate an outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. What are those criteria you ask?

Some of these selection points include but are not limited to: exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design, be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change, and represent a masterpiece of human creative genius.

For the full list of criteria be sure to stop by here. Taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan, every year natural and cultural landmarks from across the planet are highlighted and selected for their outstanding universal value to humanity. 

This year UNESCO's World Heritage Committee selected Jodrell Bank Observatory as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The Jodrell Bank Observatory

The Historic Jodrell Bank Observatory Has Just Gained UNESCO World Heritage Status
Source: Jordell Bank/UNESCO

For the uninitiated, the Jodrell Bank Observatory is the earliest radio astronomy observatory in the world that is still in existence with an impressive host of accomplishments and features under its belt; even playing a role in the US and Russian Space Race

Located in the United Kingdom, the massive Lovell Telescope has been the heart and soul of the observatory since its inception in 1957. Still one of the largest and most powerful telescopes in the world, Lovell has given researchers unprecedented glimpses at the universe like pulsars and neutrons. 

Even more so, the Lovell Telescope tracked the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Moon in 1966, printing the first picture from the lunar surface. 

The Historic Jodrell Bank Observatory Has Just Gained UNESCO World Heritage Status
Source: Jordell Bank/UNESCO

The telescope has had a few moments on the big screen being featured everywhere from BBC's Stargazing Live series, to Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Doctor Who.

Meeting the Criteria 

The Historic Jodrell Bank Observatory Has Just Gained UNESCO World Heritage Status
Source: Jordell Bank/UNESCO

So what criteria did the Jodrell Bank Observatory meet? First and foremost the Jodrell Bank represents a masterpiece of human creative genius.

As stated by UNESCO, "Jodrell Bank is an outstanding example of creative scientific and technical achievement which revolutionized our understanding of the Universe."

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Even more so, many other large paraboloidal dish telescopes and interferometer were developed at the observatory. Technology that was eventually used around the world. 

The Historic Jodrell Bank Observatory Has Just Gained UNESCO World Heritage Status
Source: Jordell Bank/UNESCO

Secondly, it exhibits an important interchange of human values. Researchers and leading scientific organizations from across the world work alongside the Jodrell Bank Observatory to better understand humanity's place in the universe.  

The Historic Jodrell Bank Observatory Has Just Gained UNESCO World Heritage Status
Source: Jordell Bank/UNESCO

Finally, the observatory highlights both an outstanding example of a type Of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history, and is associated with events or Living Traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal value.

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The Historic Jodrell Bank Observatory Has Just Gained UNESCO World Heritage Status
Source: Jordell Bank/UNESCO

Not only does the observatory highlight the major shift towards the significance of radio waves in astronomy, but it also captures the beauty of our sublime and awe-inspiring universe. 

Be sure to stop by UNESCO webpage for the full list of World Heritage Sites.

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