History of Siding Spring Observatory
Siding Spring Observatory (SSO) was first established as a field station for Mount Stromlo Observatory (MSO), after light pollution from the growing city of Canberra began to adversely affect visibility.
In the early 1960's, RSAA director, Professor Bart Bok, initiated a site testing project to identify and a new site for observing the southern sky. ANU Vice Chancellor Professor Leonard Huxley, gave approval for choice of Siding Spring as the new observatory site for the university in 1962.
The construction of the first telescope (the ANU 40 inch) was commenced in 1963 and the site was officially opened in 1964. Since then, many new discoveries have been made and much high-quality science has been, and continues to be, done using the facilities at SSO.
The observatory site is owned and operated by The Australian National University and is home to all the research telescopes of the university. SSO also hosts a growing number of other national and international facilities, with more telescopes planned to be built and commissioned between 2011 and 2015. The telescopes at the site include the 3.9m diameter Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) of the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO), the largest optical telescope in Australia.