Mount Stromlo Observatory


Mount Stromlo Observatory (MSO) is the headquarters of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, located approximately 18km southwest of the centre of Canberra, in the ACT.  The administrative centre, the offices of the astronomers and students, the mechanical, electronic and optical workshops, and the computer laboratories are located at MSO.
Since much of the site was damaged in the 2003 Canberra bushfires, there are no longer working research telescopes at MSO - all of the telescopes and associated maintenance facilities are located at Siding Spring Observatory (SSO). However, the reconstruction of MSO has included the development of the Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre and rebuilding the heritage Commonwealth Solar Observatory building.
Established in 1924 (as the Commonwealth Solar Observatory), MSO was one of the earliest developments in the ACT. You can read a short history of the observatory, and browse our photo galleries, including some from the early days of the observatory.


Mt. Stromlo Observatory Public Astronomy Nights

Mt Stromlo Observatory, in conjunction with the Canberra Astronomical Society, invite the Canberra community to attend our free, public star gazing night and lectures. Warm clothing is recommended and observations on the night are weather dependent. Please see the Mt. Stromlo calendar for more info and dates.

Make sure you check out the sky conditions at Mt Stromlo so you will know what to expect when you arrive.

Mt. Stromlo Observatory Site Tours

Take a free, guided walking tour of Mt. Stromlo Observatory and learn about its history, science, and future. Please check the Mt. Stromlo calendar for dates.

Alternatively, guide yourself along the Mt. Stromlo Heritage Trail. The Heritage Trail includes 12 interpretive signs which together provide a comprehensive history of Mt Stromlo Observatory.

School visits

The Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics invites schools to participate in our outreach program of visits to the observatory. School groups will visit the Mt Stromlo Observatory on selected evenings throughout the year. Upon arrival students will watch a 3-D astronomy movie as an introduction to the main part of the evening: a stargazing session using Stromlo's outreach telescopes. To complete the evening there will be a 'Question & Answer' session with professional astronomers.

We currently run programs suitable for primary school students as well as Year 10, 11 and 12 physics students with group sizes between 15 and 40 students.

For more information or to arrange a date for your school to participate please contact us by email.


Please note that the actual objects observed will depend on the scheduled date and that in the event of cloudy weather, either an alternative program (including a tour of the observatory) can be run or the session rescheduled.


Information for visitors

Scope Mount Stromlo cafe

The Mt Stromlo café is closed until further notice.

Mount Stromlo Observatory visitor centre

Unfortunately, the Mount Stromlo visitor centre is closed indefinitely. However, you can download a walking guide for visitors to Mount Stromlo Observatory (PDF, 377kB), and a site guide (PDF, 2MB) that provides further information about the Mount Stromlo sites.


(02) 6125 0230

Where to find us

Directions to this observatory can be found on our Find us page.

Updated:  30 March 2015/Responsible Officer:  RSAA Director/Page Contact:  Webmaster