12 January 2011

Melbourne - Melbourne Observatory

The Melbourne Observatory is on a site just next to the Royal Botanic Garden, with a gate entry into the garden that passes The Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden. This gate is called the Observatory Gate or the O-Gate.

The Observatory site is also managed by The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and works closely with the Astronomical Society of Victoria (ASV), to maintain the historical site.

The Melbourne Observatory once housed the largest telescope in the world, a 48-inch fully steerable telescope called The Great Melbourne Telescope. However, as the city of Melbourne grew, the resulting light pollution made quality astronomical observations difficult. Hence when the flood-lit Shire of Remembrance adjacent to the Observatory was completed in 1933, it further impacted the night skies. The Melbourne Observatory was finally closed in 1945. The Great Melbourne Telescope, along with its scientific equipment and instruments were either sold or moved elsewhere.

Most of the original buildings still stand on the site. It still houses three other smaller telescopes; the Astrograph, South Equatorial and Photoheliograph telescope which are still in used despite the light pollution. There are regular guided tours to the Melbourne Observatory buildings and if the weather conditions permit, the telescope can be used to peep into the night skies.

At the Observatory Plaze, you'll find the:
The Visitor Centre is the place where you can place a booking for any of the guided tours for the season. The Observatory Cafe is an alternative to The Tea Room, for some brunch.

The above three photos shows some of the original observatory buildings with the Shrine of Remembrance in the background.

The photo on the left shows the view of The Melbourne Observatory as seen from the Shrine of Remembrance.

Location of Melbourne Observatory in the City of Melbourne.

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