Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

Ph: 02 6337 3988 | Email Enquires:

  • As it is about 15 million light years away, it has taken light about this length of time to reach us from beautiful spiral galaxy M83. As such you are looking a long long time ago at a galaxy far far away. Just in time for Star Wars day on May 4th. Either way, M83 is a wonderful example of a spiral galaxy.
  • Known also as the Spindle Galaxy, NGC 3115 is about 32 million light years away.  It is lens shaped and maybe about 7 times bigger than our own Milky Way galaxy! (Still looking for that new site!)
  • NGC 5139 (Omega Cent) is a globular (round) cluster of stars, again, near the Southern Cross. It is about 16,000 light years away. It is truly one THE highlights of the sky this time of year. Just count the stars!
  • Time for things other than Jupiter! This is the Jewel Box cluster. It is very near the Southern Cross. Technically it is known as an open cluster, but I like the name Jewel Box, due to the different coloured stars. P.S Still looking for a new observatory site. There are a couple of options we are exploring, but still looking.
  • I do not normally like to make posts too frequent, but late last night there was just enough clear sky to image Jupiter again. I shared this as the Great Red Spot was visible and Jupiter's moon Io was casting its shadow on Jupiter as well.
  • Thank you for all the support about our announcement that we need to find a new dark sky site to relocate to. We are still looking! We are hoping for a new site to the north or south of Bathurst. Let me know if you hear of something with building permission, NBN and on a hill away from other lights! In the meantime, I imaged Jupiter on the 7th of April. See if you can spot Jupiter's moons Io in the left and Ganymede on the right. (Edit, The moons Europa and Callisto are also in the image, but more of a challenge to find! See how you go!)
  • Well here is the news....  <br />
Bathurst Observatory is looking for a new dark site to call home. Bathurst City is expanding and within a year or so, suburbia and other large developments will be within 2km of the observatory. Though this is great news for the growth of Bathurst, the associated lights and glare, spells the end of the observatory at the current location. Therefore, I need to find a new site! I am hoping to find a place about 10-15km from town, with NBN access, to rebuild and relocate everything (including our home). This needs to be done soon, due to building timeframes. I am hoping that there is a farmer with a suitable block with building permission out there that can meet our needs. The observatory is privately owned so we are also seeking sponsorships or grants so we can complete the move without interrupting current operations. However, it is exciting, as we would be able to offer better images, research and much greater tourism potential. A few other exciting plans would also come to fruition. The Bathurst Regional Council have been extremely helpful and is assisting us, but at this stage the future is still a little bit uncertain. I thank you in advance for all your support and once I find a place, I look forward to sharing the sky into the future!<br />
The image shows a new reservoir to service about 4000 homes viewed from the observatory.
  • A star is exploding (a supernova!) in a distant spiral galaxy. I have marked the star with the red tick marks. At present this exploding star is the brightest object in this galaxy. The galaxy  itself is numbered NGC 5643 in the constellation of Lupus and 60 million light years away. Over the past few days the exploding star has brightened significantly. (Though you do need a large telescope to see it)
  • With cloud and a bit of rain for the past couple of weeks, I have been unable to provide you with more images from the telescope. When it does clear, Jupiter will be a prominent object in the East,  not long after sunset. This computer simulation shows you where to look. If you have binoculars, try looking for Jupiter's moons too. P.S  I hope that locals south of Mt Hope turn up a meteorite soon from last weeks fireball. Info on the fireball is in the previous post.
  • I have a new toy to help me image planets. This is Jupiter on the 11th of March. With some practice, the images should get better. I look forward to sharing them.
  • I got asked if I could take an image of the whole moon. Here is the moon on the evening of the 6th of March. I hope not only the lady requesting it enjoys it, but everyone else as well.
  • NGC 2997, is about 25 million light years away. It is an interesting face on spiral shaped galaxy in the constellation of Antlia. I imaged this a one a month ago, and reluctantly posted it (galaxy images never seem popular), as it is too cloudy to do other imaging at present!
  • IC 2944, this interesting nebula is not far from the eta Carina.  If you look closely, you might see small dark areas of gas known as Bok globules. These dense areas may one day form new stars.
  • The eta carina nebula is an amazing sight. Best viewed from the Southern Hemisphere, it covers an area of sky greater than I can image! Lots of star forming regions and includes a super massive star (eta carina). I will delay our announcement until I have the media release prepared.
  • A somewhat fuzzy image of Jupiter. I  took this just on midnight on the 18th Feb. Jupiter will become a prominent object in the evening skies in coming months. Hopefully too, the images will get better!
  • NGC 2264, This area contains nebula with a few names, such as the cone nebula and the fox fur nebula. To me though, I just love the colour contrasts. I have a fairly major announcement in a week from now.
  • The (almost) Full Moon on the 11th Feb 2017. Usually astronomers hibernate around full moon, as it is too bright to view much else. I decided to get out a telescope I built some 34 years ago and connect the camera up for this image.
  • There are cool objects you can see without a telescope. Iridium communication satellites are known for suddenly brightening, known as flares, when the sun reflects off them. You can use a site called "Heavens Above" to predict when you too can observe these flares from where you live! This image was a taken a couple of nights ago. Sorry about the gap, I had to open the shutter twice. Try sighting the International Space Station too!
  • NGC 2261. Not the most spectacular of objects I have posted of late, but certainly one of the more interesting. It is known as Hubble's Variable Nebula. There is a star embedded in this nebula that changes brightness over time, causing the nebula to change in brightness too! It is not a large object, so I really had to magnify the image!
  • I am sure that many of you have been out admiring Venus after sunset. Venus will soon overtake Earth, passing between Earth and the sun. As a result, it is getting lower in the west. As we see Venus from almost "behind" it shows phases like the moon. Here is Venus on the 28th of January. It will become more crescent like in coming weeks. Remember that it looks kind of bland, as it is totally covered in clouds!
  • M 78 is a reflection nebula. We see it due to light being reflected  from stars hidden within it. There is also considerable thick darker gas and dust as well. It is about 1600 light years away. I personally find it quite an eerie sight!
  • NGC 2174. This nebula glows due to the radiation of young stars within it. It is also known as the "Monkey Face Nebula". If you look carefully you might see the "monkey" looking to the left and a darker patch of nebula as the "eyebrows". It does look like a monkey! Can you see it? January  2017.
  • I really tested the limits of the imaging system on the evening of the 16th, as I imaged the extremely faint IC2118. It is known as the Witch's Head Nebula. This gas cloud faintly reflects the light of the nearby star Rigel in Orion.
  • I recently imaged 'Thor's Helmet' nebula (NGC 2359). This "gas bubble" has been shed by a very hot Wolf-Rayet star in the centre. The nebula itself is about 12,000 light years away in Canis Major (Orion's hunting dog). I once had a person tell me the brighter parts looked more like a snail!
  • I have been a bit shy of posting a galaxy image lately. They are never as popular as nebula, moon or planet images. This is NGC 1566, one of my favourite galaxies. Ignoring all the science and special features of this "active galaxy", I hope you just like the stunning shape of this galaxy. (I promise more of the favourite  stuff next post!).
  • The Rosette Nebula in Monoceros (near Orion) is about 5000 light years away. I imaged this on New Years Eve. The hot young stars near the centre help cause the surrounding gas to glow. I find it one of those images I can't help staring at.
  • Happy New Year to all Observatory followers. I wish you all the best for the new year. (Image of Fireworks over Bathurst New Year's Eve).
  • The great Orion Nebula, M42. If you got a telescope for Christmas, have a look at this! It is located as the middle star in the sword of Orion the hunter. The nebula itself is a star forming region about 1500 light years away. I have taken this image to highlight the darker gas and dust. I will take a couple more different images of this in coming months.
  • Strange things turn up when you image! Generally I capture satellites crossing my field. While imaging M45, (the Pleiades) it seems I captured what appears to be a red sleigh and 8 objects pulling it? I can only guess it might be a planning flight by Santa prior to his big night. I wish all our followers, no matter where they are from, all the best for Christmas and the New Year. Thank you for following us!

Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

Bathurst NSW Australia

Please like our Facebook page for latest news and images!

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 are on hold until the move to the new site

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

 Scheduled Tour dates:-

October 2017 Tour Dates

Note, Bathurst Observatory is on the move!!!! September was our last planned tours until we can start from the new site! Hopefully this transistion won't take long.

I am hoping I may be able to squeeze in a few last tours in mid to late Ocotober. Then bigger, better and more exciting tours will come (hopefully from Decmeber)  

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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