Matthew attended the unveiling of the Perrin telescope at the UCL Observatory (UCLO) in Mill Hill. The instrument will allow students and researchers to investigate parts of space they have not been able to view before. The telescope is five-and-a-half times more powerful than the next best telescope at the Observatory and was purchased through private fundraising.
The night sky in London combined with weather patterns and light pollution means that observing is not always possible but the availability of such a facility thirty minutes from UCL’s main campus is remarkable.
While he was a Councillor, Matthew was responsible for street lighting and ensured that lights on the A1 did not contribute to light pollution outside the Observatory but having lampposts fitted with a back shield.
Matthew said: “It was an incredible event and those present learnt how galaxies and stars are discovered under our noses here in Mill Hill. History is being made while many of us pass by on the A1.
"The Observatory is such a unique institution that we cannot let it be disturbed or hindered. There is genuine concern about the proposals for Pentavia Retail Park which it is feared will affect the light pollution around the Observatory. Given the overwhelming and significant number of concerns about this planning application, I formally asked the Secretary of State to review the scheme and he has informed me that he is considering calling-in the Mayor of London’s decision to give it the go-ahead.”
In attendance were the Mayor Of Barnet Councillor Caroline Stock, Mill Hill Councillor Val Duschinsky and Astronomer Royal Lord Rees