Adventuring Sydneyside: A Night at the Sydney Observatory

Though there is nothing I love more than city life, there are a few drawbacks. One such drawback is the serious lack of stars: the lights are just too bright for proper stargazing. That being said, if you’re in Sydney and need bit of an astronomy fix, the night tour at The Observatory might be just what you’re looking for.

Night falls on The Observatory

Alex and I turned up a few minutes early and were able to wander through the museum, which is filled with artifacts and stories from Sydney’s astronomical history. The tour began with a few short films in the 3-D space theatre, including a great short about the biggest stars in the known universe (you know, the ones that make our Sun look like a grain of sand).

The museum boasts an impressive collection of objects, including this 16 inch repeating circle

We then moved to the Planetarium where an astronomer recreated the night sky in a dome (without all of the pesky city lights) and gave a talk which covered everything from Greek constellations to  how stars are named.

Telescopes everywhere!

As great as the Planetarium session was, I was ready to see some real stars. We headed up to the Observatory and our guide dialed up some stars for us. The night was a bit overcast, but we were still able to see Jupiter and it’s four Galilean moons.

This computer shows all of the stars in the sky, and is programmed to move the giant telescope into the correct position to see them.

On a clear night you can see much more thanks to the high powered telescope, including a much closer view of our own moon depending on the season (during summer the moon is too low during the night tour hours).

The Observatory has a massive telescope for stargazing, and a magnificent view for citygazing. Above: A view of the Harbour Bridge.

Our guide told us that winter is the best time for stargazing thanks to the cold dry air, which means that I’ll be back next winter when I’m in need of another astronomy fix.

A view of the Harbour from the Observatory grounds

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