Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

Ph: 02 6337 3988 | Email Enquires:

  • 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!
  • 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.

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 June 2017 will be at 7:30 pm

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


Scheduled Tour dates:-

 June 2017 Tour Dates

Friday the 2nd and Saturday the 3rd

Friday the 16th and Saturday the 17th

Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th

Friday the 30th

Note due to full moon, there are NO tours over the June long weeknd.

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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