A few observatories round the world

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Some astronomical observatories

South African Astronomical Observatory

The McLean dome at SAAO, Cape Town

SAAO was founded as the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope in 1820, and became the South African Astronomical Observatory in the early 1970s. The Observatory is based in Cape Town, and a few of the domes at the original site are still in (intermittent) use.

The telescopes at Sutherland

The main observing site, however, is at Sutherland, some 200 miles North of Cape Town, where the observatory maintains a suite of telescopes, including 74-inch, 40-inch, 30-inch and 20-inch reflectors. See the main observatory page for full details

The Radcliffe 74-inch

The 40-inch

The Anglo Australian Observatory

The AAT dome at Coonabarabran, NSW

The AAO dates back to the mid-1970s, when the SRC in Britain and CSIRO in Australia got together to find a good site for a large refelcting telescope, sited next to a wide-field Schmidt survey telescope. "Good" is a relative term here - the abundance of trees near the AAO points to lots of moisture, and seeing better than 1 arcsecond still isn't so common, but the site, near the Warrumbungle National Park, is pleasing to the eye. Moreover, the staff have overcome the disadvantages imposed by the conditions through continued inventiveness in devising novel instrumentation. See this link for more details.

The UK Schmidt telescope: a copy of the 48-inch Palomar schmidt, UKST has completed several photographic surveys of the southern hemisphere. See this link for more details

The 3.9 metre AAT

It is clear some of the time

Mount Stromlo Observatory

The 74-inch reflector at MSO

Mount Stromlo is about 30 minutes drive from central Canberra and has housed an astronomical observatory since the 1924, when it was established as the Commonwealth Observatory. MSO formally became part of ANU in 1957, and added "SSO" (Siding Spring Observatory) to the title in the 1970s. As with the Cape observatory, the largest telescope is a 74-inch reflector. see this link for more historical details, and this link for details on current research.

The Great Melbourne reflector

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The GMR refurbished for the MACHO project

The 40-inch telescope at Siding Spring

The most used telescope at MSO in recent years has been the 50-inch, formerly known as the Great Melbourne reflector (see above). Built in 1868, and with an original mirror made of speculum (an alloy of copper and tin), the telescope was moved to MSO in the late 1940s, and a glass mirror installed. The telescope received a full refurbishment in the early 1990s, since when it has been dedicted to detecting MACHOs: Massive Compact Halo Objects, a candidate for dark matter, which reveal themselves through gravitational lensing. (see the Aussie MACHO page ).
MSO also maintains telescopes at Siding Spring (hence the SS in the name). These include a 24-inch reflector, 40-inch reflector (pictured left) and a 2.3-metre.
Unfortunately, all of the MSO telescopes were destroyed by a bush fire on Jan 18, 2003. See here for Mathew Colless' pictures of the devastation. There are plans to construct replacement telescopes, but probably at Siding Spring.