dome outside

The Observatory


Mt Stromlo Observatory is the headquarters of The Australian National University's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The University operates two observatories, Mt Stromlo, west of Canberra, and Siding Spring, in the Warrumbungle Mountains near Coonabarabran, NSW.

The administrative centre, the offices of the astronomers and students, the mechanical, electronic and optical workshops, and the computer laboratories are located at Mt Stromlo. The telescopes and associated maintenance facilities are located at Siding Spring.
Siding Spring also hosts telescopes of the Australian Astronomic Observatory, the University of NSW, the University of Arizona and the Faulkes Telescope Project.

Mt Stromlo received its first telescope, the Oddie in March 1911 and it became operational in September of that year. Mt Stromlo Observatory began operation as the Commonwealth Solar Observatory in 1924. During the Second World War, it was the design and prototype centre for the Australian Optical Munitions Factory.

After the war, the Observatory changed from solar to stellar astronomy and in 1957 became part of ANU. Today, Mt Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories comprise Australia's premier university centre for astronomical research.

Mt Stromlo was severely damaged by the firestorm of 18 January 2003.

All but one of the telescopes, the workshops, the design offices, the administration offices and the library and archives were destroyed.
Fortunately, the offices of astronomers and students, the lecture rooms and the computer laboratories survived, so staff were able to be back on site two weeks after the fire.

In October 2004, visitors were welcomed back to the Observatory and construction of a new Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (AITC) began.

In 2011 Mt Stromlo celebrates its 100th year of observations and work has commenced on the restoration of the Oddie dome and building of a telescope in the tradition of the original Oddie telescope. The Skymapper telescope will come online in during 2011 and offer world first imagery of the southern hemisphere. The Research School is partnered with several US institutions to work on the massive GMT telescope project which will be built using ANU RSAA expertise in Chile.

Phase II of the AITC also began in 2011, and will see Mt Stromlo deliver technical programs able to support civilian satellite and astronomical equipment design, build, and test both nationally and internationally.

• You can watch the progress of the rebuilding process on our website:

• For a full history of the observatory and the ANU / Mt Stromlo facility - click here (PDF)

• For a walking guide & map with information about the surrounding area - click here (PDF)

• For more information on ANU & the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics,
visit their website:

1. 74" Reflector
2. Old Workshop Site
3. Uppsala Dome
4. Directors Residence
5. 50" Reflector
6. Original Commonwealth Solar Observatory
7. The Heliostat
8. 6" Farnham Telescope

9. 30" Reynolds Reflector
10. Duffield and Woolley Building
11. 26" Yale-Columbia Refractor
12. 9" Oddie Refractor
13. W.G. Duffeild's Grave
14. Advanced Instrumentation & Technology Centre
15. Temporary Engineering Offices
16. Temporary Mechanical Workshop
17. Residential Area - NO ADMITTANCE



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