Siding Spring Observatory

Overview

The Siding Spring Observatory's annual StarFest celebration will be held on the weekend of the 1st of October 2016.

Siding Spring Observatory (SSO), on the edge of the Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran, NSW, is Australia's premier optical and infrared astronomical observatory.

The Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) operates its research telescopes, and hosts those of other institutions at this spectacular location next to the picturesque Warrumbungle National Park. You can learn more about the various telescopes and organisations that own and run them on the telescopes of SSO page.

Please visit the Siding Spring Observatory webpage for more information.

Activities

Activities at Siding Spring Observatory

Learn about the importance of this area to astronomical research and the natural environment. Enjoy a walk with breathtaking views of the Warrumbungle National Park. Learn more about the various telescopes and international organisations that reside on site and what it is they observe.

There is a range of activities for visitors to the observatory, including:

  • A visitor centre with informative and educational displays about telescopes and astronomy.
  • Access to the viewing gallery of the Australian Astronomical Observatory's (AAO) Anglo-Australian Telescope.
  • Spectacular views of the Warrumbungle National Park
  • A cafe and shop at the visitor centre that is stocked with great food and gift ideas. Morning and afternoon teas and light lunches are available - contact us for group pricing.
  • Our annual StarFest celebration is held in October. You can meet our astronomers and discover more about the observatory and the science that we do here.
  • School holiday activities, including guided walking tours of the observatory and talks by astronomers and scientists.
  • Tours for groups of all ages can be organised on request. Please contact the visitor centre in advance for pricing and availability. A minimum group size of 15 applies for all tours.

Please note: Siding Spring Observatory (SSO) is a working research facility and as such we are not open at night for public viewing. Siding Spring Observatory is closed to the general public after 4pm.

For more information on things to see and do at Siding Spring Observatory, including upcoming events, booking information, prices and how to get to SSO, please visit the Siding Spring Observatory web page.

Information for visitors

The Siding Spring Observatory's annual StarFest celebration will be held on the weekend of the 1st of October 2016.

The Siding Spring Exploratory houses an astronomy exhibition area with hands on activities for the whole family. Enjoy a great coffee, lunch or a snack at the Exploratory café and browse the wonderful variety of souvenirs and gifts available.

The Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) houses the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) which is the largest optical telescope in Australia. The AAT is an impressive four storeys high and holds a 3.9m, 16 tonne ceramic glass mirror. Inside this massive dome is a visitor viewing gallery open to the public and free of charge. From the gallery you can see the telescope and read about its history and the discoveries it has made.

Behind the AAO building is a lookout which over looks the iconic Warrumbungle National Park. Take a moment to view the natural beauty of the landscape surrounding Siding Spring Observatory.

Opening hours

Open 7 Days during NSW School Holidays except Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Outside of school holidays;
Tuesday to Friday: 9:30am to 4pm
Saturday and Public Holidays: 10am to 4pm
Closed Sunday and Monday

During times of Severe Fire Danger (or higher) and extreme weather events, the observatory will be closed to visitors.

Please visit the Siding Spring Observatory webpage for more information.

Please note: Siding Spring Observatory (SSO) is a working research facility and as such we are not open at night for public viewing. Siding Spring Observatory is closed to the general public after 4pm.

Updated:  25 September 2016/Responsible Officer:  RSAA Director/Page Contact:  Webmaster