Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

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  • Sorry for not posting anything in a few days. I had been away this week and though I did image the International Space Station on Monday the 13th (below image), I haven't had time to do more. If the storms continue, maybe I will image lightning tonight. I will also get more planning and pegging out done at the new site over the weekend. Hopefully soon things will progress at the new site!
  • The Sculptor Galaxy NGC 253. As you may notice, a favourite of mine. I imaged this a few weeks ago while getting the observatory ready for its move. Progress is much slower than planned for the relocation. It is now early 2018 before tours will happen again. As we have to fund the move ourselves (no grants or sponsorships have been offered) I am already making a few cut backs to the plans for the new site. The major cost (worry) is the shed to house the museum.
  • The International Space Station made a nice pass over our region on the evening of the 23rd of October. Using a lot of magnification, I was able to image it (at a distance of  475km)
  • These four galaxies are known as the Grus Quartet. They are about 55 million light years away. The observatory move is progressing slowly, actually much slower than I thought!
  • Old school imaging (kind of). Taken with a very cheap 80mm F5 refracting telescope, on a basic motor driven mount, no computers driving the mount or camera, no automatic guiding. It shows what you can do with basic equipment. The galaxy is M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. From Australia it is very low down in the northern sky.
  • Well it is now officially ours. This is the view of the proposed site of the observatory (we are going to keep but move the sheds). Sometime (soonish) we hope to host a BBQ for all our nearby neighbours at Billywillinga! Thank you to all those that have welcomed us to the area!
  • While some people watched football games over the weekend, I was outside with the Moon. We are all geared up to start our move to the new site from this weekend. Tours will start again  as soon as I can. It marks a new and exciting chapter in the observatory!
  • M27, It is a bubble of gas shed from a dying star. The colours are due to gases like oxygen and hydrogen. This is how our sun will end its life in about 4 billion years from now.
  • The Moon on the 25th of September. Sometimes it is nice to image wider angle, rather than just close ups. The telescope that imaged the Moon is one I built in the mid 80's!
  • Known as the "War and Peace" Nebula NGC 6357 is located in Scorpius. It is fairly faint and took a bit of imaging to capture! A big thank you as well to all those turned up for the Sky Stories astronomy night in Orange. There is an even bigger event in the planning for Bathurst in 2018.
  • I will be in Orange for an Astronomy Night on Wednesday the 20th! Hope to see you there!
  • All telescopic "eyes" will be watching Saturn on Friday evening (the 15th) as the Cassini space probe ends its mission of imaging Saturn and its moons. The probe is scheduled to burn up in Saturn's atmosphere and there is a very slight possibility it may be imaged from powerful telescopes on Earth. I did a practice run on the evening of the 10th of Sept to make sure all was working prior to this event.
  • NGC 6188 is a nebula about 4000 light years away in the constellation of Ara. A nearby star cluster causes the hydrogen gas to glow, while thicker regions appear dark. It is in areas like this that new stars are formed. I imaged this about a month ago!
  • Thank you everyone for the support after our relocation to a new site announcement! I tried something new on the evening of the 28th August. I tried to image the International Space Station. It is about 100m in size but 400km above us, therefore presents a REAL challenge to image (like imaging a football field 400km away!). This is my first attempt, so I hope they will get better next time I try!
  • The sun on the 20th August 2017 (9:15am local) imaged using our solar telescope. For my friends in the U.S, there is a significant group of sunspots (AR 2671) that should make for some great images for your total solar eclipse on Monday (for those in the U.S observe safely, and only image with the correct equipment). For everyone else, I hope you enjoy the image of the sun today!
  • A truly wonderful galaxy! This is NGC 6744, and it is located about 30 million light years away (in the constellation of Pavo). If we could look back on our own milky way galaxy from far away, this is pretty much how it would look. I will announce what is happening with the observatory and its future at the official opening of the observatory images and meteorites exhibition on Tuesday evening. I will then post information on this page!!!!
  • The Trifid nebula and surrounding milky way region. One of the best colour contrasts in the sky. The pink glow of hydrogen gas excited by young stars, and the blue light of stars being reflected off surrounding gas.
  • There are about 400,000 stars in globular star cluster NGC 6397. It is about 7,200 light years away in the southern constellation of Ara. I don't normally post images of these clusters, as they are not as visually stunning as nebula, planets etc!
  • I changed the configuration of the telescope for this image of M17, the Swan Nebula. Not sure if I like it or not! (For the technically minded, it was imaged at F7 rather than F2). The future of the observatory and maybe the new site, I will announce VERY soon.
  • Galaxy M83 was on my list to image last week. I know I have imaged this before, but there is just something wonderful about this barred spiral galaxy.
  • Something different. There is an exhibition opening in a few days of images taken from the observatory and some of the meteorites from the collection. I hope people can come and see!
  • Sometimes I actually image things by accident. The side on spiral galaxy is NGC 5746. I was using the bright star to the lower right to align the telescope and focus the image. When I checked the focus, I found I had the galaxy framed as well!
  • I find this area really eerie and interesting at the same time. This is the region around Rho Ophiuchi. There is a lot of dark gas and dust and the stars of Rho Ophiuchi are causing the nearby dust to reflect their blueish light. This is a region of star formation and is about 460 light years away. I hope you find it as interesting as I  do.
  • Comet Johnson is still visible with a telescope, but has faded a fair bit as it moves away from both Earth and the sun. I imaged the comet on the 12th of July, now the Moon no longer interferes.
  • The sun should be heading to its quiet phase in the 11 year cycle of activity. Therefore it is somewhat a surprise that the sun has a large sunspot group at the moment. I imaged the sun on the 9th and just 2 hours later the sunspot unleashed a moderate solar flare. Such solar flares can cause power surges and aurora here on Earth.
  • NGC 6334 is also known as the Cat's Paw Nebula. It is located in Scorpius and about 5,500 light years away. It is very faint and really only shows itself in photographs. Big news very soon!
  • The bright orange star is Antares, the heart of Scorpius. This giant star is shedding gas and dust (like carbon soot) which can be seen like an orange cloud extending away from the star. Also of note is a small globular star cluster, NGC 6144, often overlooked by the much brighter and larger M4 very close by.
  • Remember the milky way view I took with just the camera on the tripod? I also imaged this area around the southern cross at the time. Also of note is the talk on the Moon I am giving this Sunday, 11:30 am at the Australian Fossil and Museum  in Bathurst, Funds raised go to the museum (contact them for details!)
  • A quick update on comet Johnson. It is currently drifting through Virgo, a region rich in distant galaxies. See how many galaxies you can see! Mind you the comet is rather nice on its own.
  • NGC 4565. This galaxy is seen pretty much from side on. It is about 40 million light years away. From Australia, it is fairly low in the northern sky. I have spent the weekend preparing my public talk for next weekend. More details about the talk during the week.

Photo Albums


Album: Lunar Eclipse images 8th October 2014<br />
20 Photos
Album: Observatory Images<br />
60 Photos
Album: April 2013 Images<br />
10 Photos

Contact Us

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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