Monday, January 14, 2013

Australian Observatory Complex Damaged by Wildfiire

Wildfire Damages Siding Spring Observatory

Yesterday (Jan. 12) bushfires swept through Australia's Warrumbungle National Park, home to Siding Spring Observatory. The telescopes there appear to have escaped harm, but some support facilities and staff homes were destroyed.

Right now more than 170 wildfires are burning portions of New South Wales in Australia — 50 of them uncontained. One of the affected areas is Warrumbungle National Park and, within it, Siding Spring Observatory — the crown jewel of Australian optical astronomy. Late yesterday afternoon a fast-moving bushfire overran a portion of the observatory compound.

Bushfire at Siding Spring Observatory
The view from an aerial tanker as it battled a bushfire that threatening Australia's Siding Spring Observatory on January 13, 2013. The dome in the middle houses the 4-meter Anglo-Australian Telescope, the largest of more a dozen optical telescopes at the sprawling facility.
Alex King / NSW Rural Fire Service
Siding Spring is a sprawling facility operated by Australian National University. It is home to 10 professional optical telescopes (and three others that have been decommissioned), a 22-meter radio dish, and a just-completed complex of amateur robotic telescopes owned by

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Source: Sky and Telescope Magazine.


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