Siding Spring Observatory, Coonabarabran

#1 of 6 in Museums in Coonabarabran
Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia, part of the Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics (RSAA) at the Australian National University (ANU), incorporates the Anglo-Australian Telescope along with a collection of other telescopes owned by the Australian National University, the University of New South Wales, and other institutions. The observatory is situated above sea level in the Warrumbungle National Park on Mount Woorat, also known as Siding Spring Mountain. Siding Spring Observatory is owned by the Australian National University (ANU) and is part of the Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories research school.
More than 100 million worth of research equipment is located at the observatory. There are over 50 telescopes on site (not all are in working condition), with potentially another 50 to be built within the next decade.
The original Mount Stromlo Observatory was set up by the Commonwealth Government in 1924. After duty supplying optical components to the military in World War II, the emphasis on astronomical research changed in the late 1940s from solar to stellar research. Between 1953 and 1974, the 74in reflecting telescope at Mount Stromlo was the largest optical telescope in Australia.
Already in the 1950s, the artificial lights of Canberra, ACT, had brightened the sky at Mount Stromlo to such an extent that many faint astronomical objects had been overwhelmed by light pollution. The search for a new site was initiated by Bart Bok. After a site survey was undertaken the number of possible locations was narrowed down to two — Siding Spring and Mount Bingar near Griffith, also in New South Wales. Siding Spring was first suggested for astronomy by Harley Wood, the New South Wales Government Astronomer at the time. Arthur Hogg did much of the preliminary site testing.
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Siding Spring Observatory Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
226 reviews
  • It is possible to view the huge telescope from the 4th floor of the observatory via a elevator. Static displays very interesting. Cafe has a very limited menu including espresso coffee. Great views...  more »
  • Interesting, educational, use with the free Geotrail app for lots of geological information. Cafe very sparse, so we skipped it. Loved the museum and interaction displays.  more »
  • This was a good place to visit. The museum displays are great, and the videos are informative. The kiosk serves a good variety of food. The walk up to the observatory dome showed the vast countryside, but to also get close to the telescope was a great experience. It is well worth the visit here as you will not leave disappointed.
  • A very interesting peek into the research of the southern hemisphere night skies. It's a beautiful location even if you're not a science lover.

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