Twin Dome

From 1983 to 1992 the Twin Dome at the Observatory was the home of the Twin Photometric Telescope – two 40 cm telescopes on a mount, a telescope tailor-made for high-precision photometric monitoring with one telescope for the variable star and one for a reference star. The image on the left shows the Twin Dome in 1983, with the fully refurbished telescope and two photometers attached to the back. Since the late 1990s, the Twin Dome has been an empty shell, passed by thousands of visitors on their way to its neighbour, the James Gregory Telescope. The building was never opened to the public. In the Twin Dome Project we aim to turn the dome into a home of art and science.


Currently the Twin Dome is home to “in colour”, a newly commissioned art installation in which sound, colour, light, stars and shadows all become overlaid into new and multiple perspectives. With the power of the sun, “in colour” seeks to bring back a memory of the telescope once housed here. In this new configuration however, rather than gazing through the telescope, we are now invited to inhabit the telescope and to look more deeply into the actions and interactions of light once caught within it.

“in colour” is part of an ongoing collaboration under the banner of “Shine” between artist Tim Fitzpatrick with astronomer Anne-Marie Weijmans and musician Bede Williams, both of the University of St Andrews, and composer Andrew Knight-Hill of the University of Greenwich. The “Shine” collaboration first began in 2015 and “in colour” has been facilitated by Aleks Scholz, Observatory Director at the University of St Andrews and Chris Watson, technician at the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews.

With thanks to project volunteers Izzy Donaldson, Emily Frank and Anna Fitzpatrick.


The Twin Dome during the Open Night 2018. 


The Twin Dome after the Open Night March 2019.

The Twin Dome Project is a collaboration between artist Tim Fitzpatrick and astronomers and engineers at the School of Physics & Astronomy.