Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

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  • Located within another galaxy is the Tarantula Nebula. It is a prominent star forming region in the Large Magellenic Galaxy. It is about 160,000 light years away. The galaxy itself is seen as a hazy cloud in the southern sky.
  • One of the highlights of this time of the year. The Pleiades cluster (M45). The light from these young stars is reflected off the background nebula. The Pleiades is an example of an open star cluster. It is about 450 light years away. If you live in the southern hemisphere, look north east just after dark for the hazy patch and cluster. This cluster can be seen from pretty much all parts of the world. It has cultural significance to many people.
  • Galaxy M33 is part of our local group of galaxies, but a bit smaller than the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies. It is about 2.7 million light years away. It is located in the faint constellation of  Triangulum. I just love it as a great example loose formed spiral galaxy.
  • I spent a very long night in the observatory. Probably one of the most impressive nebula regions is the Horsehead Nebula in Orion. In this image you can see the dark gas cloud kind of like a horse head, and also the faint pink glow of hydrogen gas. Below the bright star is also another glowing gas cloud, known as the Flame Nebula.
  • I promised an image of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300. It is about 70 million light years away. I am hoping the cloud stays away so I can do another imaging run in the next few days. I will also post some info soon about things you can go outside and see!
  • NGC 1360 is another example of an average star at the end of its life. These stars shed their outer layers. Commonly known as the Robin's Egg, this nebula is about 1100 light years away and glows a blueish green due to the presence of ionised oxygen atoms.
  • So what is the all the hype around a "super moon"? Well pretty much it is mainly hype. The moon's orbit is not a perfect circle but an ellipse, which means at a point EVERY month the moon is closest to earth, and at another point, furthest away. It happens this month that the full moon approximately times with that point at which it is closest. Still about 350,000 km away. The full moon on Monday the 14th is only 14% bigger than an average full moon, but a bit brighter. Will you notice it bigger? Probably not really, unless you view the moon regularly through a telescope. Can you get a good image? You will need either a telescope or a big telephoto lens (and clear sky). On the really positive side, it will give you and your family a chance to step outside after dark, and just enjoy the night sky. Be aware of the optical illusion that makes the moon look big as it rises, that is a trick of the eye and a story for another time!
  • Not all galaxies are spirals or have regular shapes. NGC 55is an example of an irregular galaxy in the constellation of Sculptor. It is fairly close at about 7 million light years away.
  • Why so many images of galaxies lately? This time of year, in the evening, the milky way is low in the west and therefore there are not as many clusters and nebula to image. But as we look up, we are looking out beyond our galaxy and towards many other distant galaxies. Many of these other galaxies reside in clusters, such as the Sculptor and Fornax groups. So until nebula are well placed again.... Galaxies like NGC 1232, about 60 million light years away! A beautiful classic spiral galaxy.
  • About 45 million light years away (in the constellation of Fornax) is this barred spiral galaxy, known as NGC 1097. The galaxy has been distorted by interactions with a nearby galaxy. There is something intriguing about spiral galaxies.
  • Two very different objects! NGC 246 is a gas bubble (nebula) expelled by a dying star. As some stars age, they shed their outer layers forming nebula like this. This one goes by the name of the "Skull Nebula". Can you see the shape? To the lower left is a very distant spiral galaxy (NGC 255). The galaxy is 70 million light years away while the nebula is part of our own Milky Way Galaxy and pretty close at 1600 light years away.
  • My son is learning to image with the telescope for a school project. The Moon provided an opportunity for him to trial his skills. This is the Aristarchus region of the moon. It features some prominent craters and an impressive lava channel. Most of the effort is not in taking the images, but in the processing. I think he did well!
  • Here is an image of the planet Mars I obtained on the 8th of October. Mars is a LONG way from Earth at present and a challenge to image (over 166 million kilometres away). To give you an idea, this was like trying to image a blowfly about 430 metres away! Still, if you look carefully you can make out a few surface markings.
  • Thank you for your input as to what you want! Venus is prominent in the western sky at present. Spot it just after sunset. It is the really bright star like object. As in the computer simulation, the Moon will be not far from Venus on the evening of the 4th! A bit higher up you will see Saturn too!
  • I am looking for ways of improving this page. I am interested in what you would like more of. I know the images of the moon were very popular and though I would still post images of other things, here are some ideas. 1. A more detailed focus on close ups of the moon (or planets when visible). 2. A monthly post of things you can see in the sky. 3. Other ideas? In the meantime I imaged galaxy NGC 300 on Friday. It is about 6 million light years away, so fairly close to our group of galaxies.
  • One of the best globular star clusters in the sky. This is  NGC 104, imaged during a break in the weather a few weeks ago.This run of wet weather has not only taken a toll on the observatory, but more seriously, the flooded crops and rivers are affecting our farmers.
  • While imaging the Moon on the 12th, I also grabbed a quick image of Saturn again. I have been refining the techniques. There is just something about Saturn!
  • Galaxy IC5201 is in the constellation of Grus. The galaxy is about 70 million light years away. I love the colour contrasts in this image! I imaged this a few weeks ago, and just got around to doing  something with it!
  • On the evening I imaged the Moon, I also obtained another close up. As you all seem to have enjoyed the last image, I thought I would  post this one also. Think of it as a thank you to you all!
  • It is rare for me to take close ups of the Moon. On the evening of the 6th September, I made an exception. I do love this area of the Moon and love the contrasts. It is almost like looking out the window of a space ship!
  • This is NGC 6872. It is the largest spiral galaxy known, being over 5 times longer (due to being stretched) than our galaxy. Located in the constellation of Pavo, it is around 212 million light years away! Some know it as the "Condor Galaxy".
  • NGC 7424. I find spiral galaxies just amazing. 7424 is in the constellation of Grus and about 37 million light years away. It is one of those images I find myself just staring at. I might have some interesting news soon as well!
  • The planetary conjunction of 27th August 2016. Though a bit closer on the 28th, my forecast was for cloud. In this image, Venus the lower bright one, Jupiter just above it, and Mercury upper left. As of the 28th, Venus will be above Jupiter. Go outside at twilight and enjoy (Great thing to show kids).
  • I used the clear night to image and test a few things. This is galaxy NGC 253. I use it as my cover photo. It is a dusty, almost side on large galaxy about 11 million light years away.
  • I find groups of galaxies fascinating. Thus group is known as the Grus Quartet. It is about 60 million light years away. I imaged this a few weeks ago.
  • Venus, Mercury and Jupiter are converging in the western evening twilight. Go outside and watch them over this coming week as they get closer. On the evening of the 28th of August, Venus and Jupiter will be at their closest. In reality the planets are actually no where near each other, but it is a line of sight perspective as viewed from Earth. This image was from the 20th. Venus is the lower brightest object, Mercury the upper left of the triangle and Jupiter the upper right.
  • Average stars (like our sun) certainly end their lives beautifully. This is M27. It is another example of a star shedding its outer layers in a giant bubble of gasses. The hot core of the dying star illuminates the gasses.
  • On Sunday the 14th August 2016, there was a double eclipse on the planet Jupiter. The moons Ganymede and Io cast their shadows on Jupiter. Ganymede has the larger shadow and the moon itself can just be seen to the  upper left of the planet. The image is a bit fuzzy due to the planet being fairly low in the sky.
  • It took some time, but I made some adjustments to the way I image planets with one of the telescopes. This is Saturn on the 13th of August 2016.

Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

Bathurst NSW Australia

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Bathurst Observatory Research Facility is an observatory site primarily for education, research and study, though we do offer general public viewing nights.


Open Nights Star Tours.

Open Nights Star Tours

Bookings essential for all tours.

(All tours subject to weather)


Night Tours for January 2017 will be at 9:30pm

Tours are generally on Friday and Saturday Nights, please see below for days and dates scheduled.


Scheduled Tour dates:-

 Tours for December 2016 are either booked out or affected by our yearly  mainatence.

January 2017 Tour Dates


Janaury Tours announced mid December.


Bookings essential.

Please note that the main telescope is pretty big and requires use of a small stepladder for viewing. Please advise if you would have difficulties with steps and we can set up a different telescope.


There are no tours for the week near Full Moon. The moon is too bright to see the stars.

In addition to normal tours, midweek tours can be arranged (except Sundays) for groups of 10 or more.
* There may be some mid week research nights where tours are not available.

Tours Prices

Costs :

Adults $15 per person

Children/Concession $10.00 per person

(Note: we have NO credit card facilities)

Tour bookings and enquires, phone (6337 3988), or email us. (Email is by far the best way to get us, if you don't get a reply it means you have us blocked!!! Please change your settings!).

How to find us? See Location!



Why "Open Nights"?

Bathurst Observatory in eveningWe used to do tours in the observatory dome. However, we found that the dome itself blocked out most of the night sky! Our visitors wanted to view through a telescope but be able to see and hear about the wonders of the night sky at the same time. We particularly had many visitors from urban areas wanting to see a nice dark country sky full of stars. The solution, set up the public telescope as nature wanted us to, on cleared ground next to the observatory, under the wonder of the Southern stars.

Our tours are conducted with the only guide with over fifteen years educational astronomy experience and with Bachelor of Education Honours Degree! Our guide is also an internationally recognised expert in the field of meteorites.

Tours require bookings and are weather dependent. (We can't see stars through clouds!) Tour duration is about 1 hour, depending on time of year.

We cater for all school astronomy and space excursions, as well as general public telescope tours of the night sky. Primarily we offer our open night tours to inspire everyone to look to the night sky.

The Milky Way stretches overhead in this view taken at the Bathurst Observatory Research Facility - 6th July 2013The Milky Way stretches overhead in this view taken at the Bathurst Observatory Research Facility.
The Bathurst Observatory Research Facility (Research and Meteorite Related Enquires and Public Viewing Nights)

The Bathurst Observatory Research Facility, located on the current site on Limekilns Road north east of Bathurst. At the research site, we study, comets, asteroids, variable stars, meteors and meteorites. For research related enquires phone (02) 6337 3988.

We also welcome any enquires or questions you may have on Astronomy, Space or meteorite related matters.

Our facebook page is regularly updated, so have a look for the latest news and images from the observatory.


Other Tours

Meteorite and Mineral Display

Solar Telescope Tours (Viewing the Sun)

On occasions, we are able to offer daytime telescope views of the sun. We have a special telescope that allows you to SAFELY view the sun. At present the availability of these tours will depend on three factors.

  1. that I'm available on the day.
  2. it is not cloudy.
  3. that the sun has some active features.

The third point is important, as sometimes the sun can be quiet and not as interesting to see.

These tours will be about 15 minutes in duration and by gold coin donation. Bookings for a solar tour would be essential.


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    Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

    (Open Night Tours, Research and Meteorite related enquires)
    624 Rossmore Park, Limekilns Rd, KELSO NSW 2795. Australia
    Phone: 02 6337 3988 | International: +61 2 6337 3988
    Email Enquires:


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