Wednesday, December 2, 1998 Published at 09:19 GMT
Children to control remote telescope
The Arthur Weller Gallery hopes to inspire children.
Dr Dill Faulks is paying £2m towards a telescope, which is currently being built on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
Dr Faulks studied cosmology before a career in computers. His donation is in recognition of his own state school education.
There are other such telescopes already in operation including the Bradford Robotic Telescope in the North of England. But at two metres, the Faulks telescope will be the biggest.
"This is a serious research tool," Dr Faulks told the BBC. "The children in school will be able to set up particular projects, be it looking at the Solar System, galaxies - whatever they want to look at. They can allocate the time to point the telescope wherever they want to and take the pictures they want, and see them real-time."
The project will be fully operational by 2001.
The announcement comes on a momentous day for the observatory which is the home of Greenwich Mean Time and focal point for Millennium celebrations.
Officials say the name change reflects a new role for the 323-year-old observatory, teaching the public about astronomy after the recent closure of the confusingly named Royal Observatory Greenwich in Cambridge.
Founded in 1675, the Greenwich site was known as the Royal Observatory Greenwich until 1954. The title travelled to Hertsmonceaux Castle, East Sussex, when astronomers set up base there three years later and travelled again when they decamped to Cambridge in 1990, a site that shut down in October.
In the meantime, the original observatory was turned into a museum and had added the "Old" to its title.