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Siding Springs Plaque : July 2014
Siding Springs Plaque : July 2014

Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

Plaque commemorates the rededication of the Siding Springs Observatory in 1994 and marks significant milestones in the history of the observatory.

Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia, part of the Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics (RSAA) at the Australian National University (ANU), incorporates the Anglo-Australian Telescope along with a collection of other telescopes owned by the Australian National University, the University of New South Wales, and other institutions.

The Siding Spring site was selected by the ANU in 1962 from many other possible locations because of the dark and cloud-free skies. By the mid-1960s the ANU had set up three telescopes, together with supporting facilities, such as sealed roads, staff accommodation, electricity and water. In 1984, the Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, opened the ANU's largest telescope, the low-cost and innovative 2.3 m aperture telescope, housed in a simple, co-rotating cuboid dome.

Since the 1950s, and quite independently of developments at Siding Spring, the Australian and British governments had been negotiating about the construction of a very large telescope. When these negotiations finally came to fruition in 1969, the infrastructure of Siding Spring Observatory was already in place, and it was the obvious site at which to locate the 4-metre aperture Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT).

During the construction of the AAT in the early 1970s, the British Science Research Council also built the UK Schmidt Telescope, 1 km to the NE of the AAT dome. The considerably wider field of view of the Schmidt optical design complements the narrower field of the AAT, in that larger areas of sky may be surveyed more quickly. Interesting objects so discovered are then studied in greater detail on the larger instrument. In 1987, the Schmidt Telescope was amalgamated with the AAT.

Location

Address:Observatory Road, Coonabarabran , 2357
State:NSW
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -31.275159
Long: 149.067416
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Technology
Sub-Theme:Science

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 9th October, 1994
Front Inscription
               THIS PLAQUE COMMEMORATES
                   THE RE-DEDICATION
                                OF
      SIDING SPRINGS OBSERVATORY
                           ON THE
                   9TH OCTOBER, 1994
                            BY THE
     CHIEF SCIENTIST OF AUSTRALIA
PROFESSOR MICHAEL PITMAN . OBE, FAA
         IN OUR CONTINUING QUEST TO 
            UNDERSTAND THE UNIVERSE

                         THE YEAR 1994 MARKS :
* 30 YEARS SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE SITE BY THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY
* 21 YEARS SINCE THE COMMISSIONING OF THE UK. SCHMIDT TELESCOPE
* 20 YEARS SINCE THE COMMISSIONING OF THE ANGLO-AUSTRALIAN TELESCOPE
* 10 YEARS SINCE THE COMMISSIONING OF THE A.N.U. 23m TELESCOPE
 
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