Chilbolton Observatory

Chilbolton Observatory offers a unique combination of facilities and expertise in atmospheric science, satellite tracking, radio astronomy and communications to support UK academia and industry.

The observatory provides a UK located observational capability that underpins the UK atmospheric science user community in meteorological research and provides national observations related to satellite tracking and space weather.

The site is dominated by the iconic 25m antenna, which can host powerful radars and sensitive receivers for satellite tracking and atmospheric measurements. The observatory also hosts the Rawlings Array for the European Low Frequency Array (LOFAR).

Chilbolton Observatory is operated by RAL Space, part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Find out more about the Chilbolton Observatory.


These specialist facilities are run by experts to support and partner UK academia and industry, including by hosting novel and visiting experiments from international research teams.

Chilbolton Observatory enables research in areas that include:

  • dynamical meteorology
  • cloud physics
  • satellite transmission measurements
  • radio wave propagation.


You can apply to use the facilities at the Chilbolton Observatory in Hampshire for research into:

  • atmospheric science
  • radio wave propagation
  • space monitoring.

The atmospheric science provision is managed and operated on behalf of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science through the Atmospheric Measurement and Observation Facility. Find out how to apply on the NERC facilities and resources web page.

The atmospheric science capability comprises a range of radars (available for on-demand, tailored observations), as well as a comprehensive suite of lidars, radiometers and meteorological instruments that contribute to a long-term measurement programme. Data from these are available via the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis.

The observatory hosts two antennas which are supported as part of the RAL Space ground station for use by science or industry partners for satellite mission planning and payload science operations.

The space monitoring facility uses the 25m antenna at Chilbolton Observatory for space surveillance and tracking and in-orbit testing.

The observatory also hosts the UK station of the European LOFAR radio telescope which is made up of thousands of antennas spread across Europe.

Chilbolton Observatory is located on a 76 hectare site surrounded by arable land which makes it easy to accommodate visiting instruments for research programmes and field campaigns.

How to get to Chilbolton Observatory

Science and Technology Facilities Council Chilbolton Observatory
Drove Road
SO20 6BJ

Get directions to Chilbolton Observatory using Google maps.


Telephone: 01264 860 391

Email: or

Last updated: 29 June 2022

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