Sydney travel – Sydney Observatory

Posted by jerry on August 15th, 2008 — Posted in History, Journal, Travel

Sydney’s observatory and astronomy museum is located at Watson Road, Observatory Hill, The Rocks. And it is well worth a visit. The observatory started life in the 1850s as a time ball tower – at 1.00pm each day the ball would be raised and dropped exactly on the hour as a time signal for ships in the harbour below. A canon would be fired simaltaneously so there was both a visual and audible time signal. The custom continues today.

Sydney Observatory

Today in the museum you can see the transit telescope used to map the Southern sky between 1880 and 1962 as part of an international project to map the entire night sky.

Transit telescope - Sydney Observatory

The 29-inch telescope is the oldest working telescope in Australia. It was installed to observe the 1874 transit of Venus. It is housed in a copper dome. The telescope is kept on track by a clockwork mechanism similar to that used on the Oddie telescope that was destroyed by Canberra’s 2003 bushfire.

twenty-nnine-inch telescope Sydney Observatory

The observatory is open 10.00am-5.00pm daily, and you can book for night viewings – check their website for details.

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