A Public Night At The Observatory

The first public night after relocating the Campbelltown Rotary Observatory was held there on 5th December 2015.

If my recollection is correct, it was the first public night there since 2009 and a crowd of over two hundred visitors attended between sunset and 11.00pm.

The event was run by a three-way collaboration between Campbelltown Rotary Observatory, Western Sydney University and Macarthur Astronomical Society. It afforded me an opportunity, not only to use my telescope but also to take a few colourful images of the Observatory and the surrounding Macarthur Heights:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night - Dome 1
2015-12-05 the domes public night – Dome 1

Members of Macarthur Astronomical Society setting up in the Observatory precinct for the evening’s viewing before the visitors arrived. In the background is the students accommodation with its “feature roof sculpture”:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night - Setting Up
2015-12-05 the domes public night setting-up

The new suburb of Macarthur Heights and its blue illuminated “Gates of Light” sculpture, as viewed from the Observatory precinct:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night - Gates of Light Illuminated
2015-12-05 the domes public night gates of light illuminated

The largest Dome, which houses a 16 inch Alt-Az Meade LX-200 Schmidt Cassegraine telescope, usedby WSU for research and education:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night - Dome 1 With Seat
2015-12-05 the domes public night – Dome 1 with seat

The view from the Observatory looking towards Macarthur Square shopping centre and the City of Campbelltown:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night - Campbelltown View
2015-12-05 the domes public night Campbelltown view

A similar view towards Campbelltown City and Macarthur Square, taken later in the evening and showing considerable light pollution surrounding the Observatory:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night - Campbelltown Lights
2015-12-05 the domes public night Campbelltown lights

Dome 1, adjacent to the public steps, shown open with the Observatory’s main telescope was in operation:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night Dome 1 & Stairs
2015-12-05 the domes public night Dome 1 & stairs

The new suburb of Macarthur Heights as viewed from the Observatory precinct during daylight, before the “Gates of Light” were illuminated:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night - Gates of Light
2015-12-05 the domes public night gates of light

Two field telescopes belonging to myself and fellow MAS member, John Rombi, after the last visitors had departed:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night - Two Scopes
2015-12-05 the domes public night two scopes

The smaller Dome, which houses a 12 inch Alt-Az Meade LX-200 Schmidt Cassegraine telescope, with the students quarters beyond:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night - Dome 2
2015-12-05 the domes public night – Dome 2

Special red coloured lighting is utilised around the Observatory precinct while the telescopes are in operation, to reduce visible glare:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night - Redevelopment
2015-12-05 the domes public night redevelopment

A view down the steps leading down from the Observatory to the illuminated “Gates of Light” in Macarthur Heights:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night - Steps Down
2015-12-05 the domes public night steps down

Red lights dominate the precinct. The earthworks of the (so far) undeveloped section of Macarthur Heights lies beyond:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night - Redevelopment at Night
2015-12-05 the domes public night redevelopment at night

The plain white main dome of the Observatory contrasts against the varied colours of the early evening sky:

2015-12-05 The Domes Public Night - Dome 1 Sunset
2015-12-05 the domes public night – Dome 1 sunset

This is number 4 in my series of photographic posts about Campbelltown Rotary Observatory.

Access from Campbelltown:  Gilchrist Drive > Goldsmith Drive > University Drive > Milky Way. For details of public observing nights please go to the Macarthur Astronomical Society Website.


All images © R.Powell


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