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Siding Spring Observatory

Siding Spring Mountain with Anglo-Australian

Telescope dome visible near centre of image.
Organization Research School of Astronomy
& Astrophysics at the
Australian National University
Code 413
Location Siding Spring Mountain/Mount
Woorat, near Coonabarabran,
New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates 311624S 1490352E
Altitude 1,165 m (3,822 ft)
3.9 m equatorial
UK Schmidt
1.24 m Schmidt
Faulkes Telescope
2 m Ritchey-Chrtien
Siding Spring 2.3 m
2.3m Advanced
SkyMapper 1.35 m wide-angle
optical telescope
HAT-South telescope wide-field telescope
Solaris Telescope 20 inch Ritchey
Chrtien telescope
Uppsala Southern
Schmidt Telescope
Schmidt Telescope
Automated Patrol
wide-field CCD
imaging telescope
Remote Public
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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 1,165 metres (3,822 ft) 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 12 telescopes on site.
1 History
1.1 2013 Bushfire
2 Visitors
3 Telescopes
4 Observing programs
5 Notable discoveries
6 See also
7 References
8 External links
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
74-inch (1.9 m) 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
Coordinates: 311624S 1490352E
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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
The Siding Spring site was selected by the ANU in 1962 from many other possible locations because of the
dark and cloud-free skies. By the mid-1960s the ANU had set up three telescopes, together with supporting
facilities, such as sealed roads, staff accommodation, electricity and water. In 1984, the Prime Minister, Bob
Hawke, opened the ANU's largest telescope, the low-cost and innovative 2.3 m aperture telescope, housed in
a simple, co-rotating cuboid dome.
Since the 1950s, and quite independently of developments at Siding Spring, the Australian and British
governments had been negotiating about the construction of a very large telescope. When these negotiations
finally came to fruition in 1969, the infrastructure of Siding Spring Observatory was already in place, and it
was the obvious site at which to locate the 4-metre aperture Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT).
During the construction of the AAT in the early 1970s, the British Science Research Council also built the
UK Schmidt Telescope, 1 km to the NE of the AAT dome. The considerably wider field of view of the
Schmidt optical design complements the narrower field of the AAT, in that larger areas of sky may be
surveyed more quickly. Interesting objects so discovered are then studied in greater detail on the larger
instrument. In 1987, the Schmidt Telescope was amalgamated with the AAT.
Siding Spring Observatory also houses telescopes from Korea, Las Cumbres Global Telescope Network and
the University of New South Wales. In 1990, the earth-satellite tracking facility of the Royal Greenwich
Observatory was closed down after 10 years of operation. In 2012 the first publicly accessible Internet based
observatory, working in partnership with the RSAA, was commissioned by iTelescope.Net with multiple
telescopes housed in a large roll-off roof (ROR) observatory near the base of the UK Schmidt Telescope.
2013 Bushfire
On 13 January 2013 the facility was threatened by a huge bushfire and firestorm. Eighteen staff were
evacuated to Coonabarabran. Three buildings were destroyed: 'The Lodge' accommodation used by visiting
researchers, the Director's Cottage and the Fire Station.
Bushfire prevention measures had been
implemented and were credited with the protection of the telescopes.
Though smoke, ash and other
air-borne debris entered some domes, all telescopes appear to have survived the inferno. The first telescopes
back in action were those of the iTelescope Remote Observatory on January 20. The Anglo-Australian
Telescope resumed normal operations in mid-February 2013.
There is a visitors' gallery and exhibition area open to the public which also incorporates a cafe and souvenir
shop. During NSW school holidays, guided tours of the site are offered. Groups of over 15 adults may apply
for Behind the Scenes walking or bus tours.
An Open Day is held annually in October, where visitors may meet astronomers and tour inside a number of
the telescopes which are open to the public on this one day of the year.
3.9 m Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAO), operational in 1975
1.24 m UK Schmidt Telescope (AAO)
2.0 m Faulkes Telescope South (LCOGT)
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Location in New South Wales
The SkyMapper telescope and the
Advanced Technology Telescope in the
two 1.0 m telescopes LCOGT
1.3 m SkyMapper Telescope (ANU), when launched in
2009 was the first new optical, research grade telescope in
Australia since 1984.
2.3 m Advanced Technology Telescope (ANU), was built in
Multiple - iTelescope.Net (iTelescope Network), Internet
connected remote telescopes for the Public. Built 2013
4 x 0.4 m" Telescopes PROMPT Telescopes (The
University of North Carolina), Built 2013
HAT-South Telescope Network (ANU, CfA, MPIA)
SOLARIS Telescope (Nicolas Copernicus Astronomical Centre
- Poland. Built 2012)
0.5 m Uppsala Southern Schmidt Telescope (ANU
decommissioned 2013)
0.5 m Automated Patrol Telescope (UNSW decommissioned
0.45 m ROTSE IIIa, Robotic Optical Transit Search
Experiment (UNSW - decommissioned 2011)
Korean YSTAR Telescope (Korean Southern Observatory)
40 inch Telescope (ANU), was first commissioned in 1963
currently decommissioned and moved to Millroy Observatory for use by amateurs.
24 inch Telescope (ANU decommissioned)
16 inch Telescope (ANU decommissioned)
The Anglo-Australian Near-Earth Asteroid Survey used the UK Schmidt Telescope between 1990 and
The same telescope was later dedicated for use by the RAVE survey of the Milky Way. The
Near-Earth object search program called Siding Spring Survey uses the Uppsala Southern Schmidt Telescope.
The 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey, one of the largest survey of galaxies ever undertaken used the Anglo-
Australian Telescope between 1995 and 2002.
In 1977, the Vela Pulsar was discovered at Siding Spring. Comet 103P/Hartley was discovered by Malcolm
Hartley in 1986.
On 8 August 2006 C/2006 P1 was discovered by Robert H. McNaught using the Uppsala
Southern Schmidt Telescope.
On 3 January 2013 C/2013 A1, which will pass extremely close to Mars on
19 October 2014 at 18:28 0:01 UTC, was discovered by Robert H. McNaught using the 0.5-meter (20 in)
Uppsala Southern Schmidt Telescope.
Siding Spring
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Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO), formerly the Anglo-Australian Observatory
Comet Siding Spring

"Bushfire hits Australias largest observatory"
observatory.htm). Australian Geographic. 14
January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
^ Haynes, Raymond; Roslynn D. Haynes; David
Malin; Richard McGee (1996). Explorers of the
Southern Sky: A History of Australian Astronomy
/books?id=XoeiJxMmXZ8C). 0521365759. p. 175.
Retrieved 20 January 2013.
^ Lewis, Rosie; Edwards, Harry (14 January 2013).
"Siding Spring Observatory survives raging
bushfire" (
observatory/story-fngw0i02-1226553143005). The
Australian. Retrieved 14 January 2013. "key
scientific facilities at Siding Spring, in northern
NSW, look to have escaped major damage from the
^ "Fire risk Information for ANU staff and
students" (
Australian National University. 15 January 2013.
Retrieved 15 January 2013.
^ "Siding Spring Observatory reopens"
observatory-reopens/). ANU. 8 April 2013.
Retrieved 22 October 2013.
^ "SkyMapper to chart southern sky"
/5802527/skymapper-to-chart-southern-sky/). The
West Australian (West Australian Newspapers). 25
May 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
^ "Observations in Coonabarabran"
/05/3471832.htm?site=westernplains). ABC
Western Plains (Australian Broadcasting
Corporation). 5 April 2012. Retrieved 21 January
^ Dymock, Roger (2010). Asteroids and Dwarf
Planets and How to Observe Them
/books?id=vQcAnwt_87sC). Springer. p. 81.
ISBN 1441964398. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
^ "Galaxy Survey Reveals Missing Cosmic Link"
/050111181818.htm). ScienceDaily (ScienceDaily
LLC). 12 January 2005. Retrieved 20 January
^ Klaus Schmidt (3 November 2010). "The Man
Behind Comet Hartley 2"
/the-man-behind-comet-hartley-2.html). The
International Space Fellowship. Retrieved 21
January 2013.
^ Joe Rao (12 January 2007). "The Great Comet
of 2007: Watch it on the Web"
2007-watch-web.html). Retrieved 20 January
^ "MPEC 2013-A14 : COMET C/2013 A1
/K13A14.html). IAU Minor Planet Center. 5
January 2013. Archived (
/K13A14.html) from the original on 1 March 2013.
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Official home page (
Anglo-Australian Observatory (
Uppsala Southern Sky NEO Survey Telescope (
Faulkes Telescope South (
iTelescope.Net Observatory (
PROMPT Telescopes (
SkyMapper Telescope (
ROTSE III Project (
UNSW Automated Patrol Telescope (APT) (
2.3 m Advanced Technology Telescope (
ANU 40-inch (1,000 mm) Telescope (
2013 Bushfire
Astronomers' Blog with 2013 fire coverage and photos (
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Australian National University 1924 establishments in Australia Siding Spring Observatory
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