Australia

Sydney Observatory Night Tour

For arm chair astronomers, star gazers, serious sky watchers and everything in between, the Sydney Observatory is a fantastic place for those who want to learn something new to those that love history and the history of the sky above.

HISTORY: Sydney Observatory was builtin 1858 and today it is a museum, public observatory,  and education center that overlooks Sydney Harbour. It is home to an 1874 29cm lens telescope, a 42cm computer-controlled telescope and a hydrogen-alpha solar telescope.

Sydney Observatory
Sydney Observatory

If you are looking for something different to do (or an interesting date night), I suggest the night tour of the Sydney Observatory. If on a clear day you can see forever, then on a clear night, you can see the moon, planets, star clusters, and galaxies light years away…of course with the help of a telescope.

Get there a bit early and allow yourself time to walk through the museum prior to your tour start. Take in the history of Australia’s astronomy from early Aboriginals to now.

Once the tour starts, you’ll get the chance to look through the 1874 telescope. Your guide will don a pair of gloves as the telescope is old, priceless, and needs to be handled with care. They will zero in on part of the night sky and allow your group to see the amazingness of the Universe. On the night I visited, we were able to see the Jewel Box Cluster, the planet Jupiter and her four Galilean moons  Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, and more.

Leaving yesteryear behind, you will cross the museum and into another tower and gaze through a modern telescope that requires no gloves but maybe a few lens changes. The modern telescope can zero on the night sky with the click of a mouse. Through this modern marvel, I was able to see Saturn and her famous rings,  Omega Centauri, the binary stars Acrab (aka Beta Scorpii), and more.

Once you’re done looking at the night sky, you’ll enjoy a show in the planetarium before you are returned to the world (hopefully more in love or at least more in awe of the sky above us).

Visiting Sydney Observatory is free Monday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Day Tours (looking through telescope) are $10 and Night Tours are $27. I do recommend booking online in advance.

Sydney Observatory
1003 Upper Fort St
Millers Point NSW 2000

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