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Beyond the expected

Replica telescope to celebrate Stromlo centenary

By johnboy - 24 September 2011 17

Chief Minister Gallagher has been celebrating the centenary of astronomy on Mt Stromlo:

Ms Gallagher unveiled the Oddie II telescope after it arrived at the centenary celebrations on a vintage truck.

“The centenary of Mr Stromlo Observatory is a special event, recognising 100 years of solar observation and the role this site has played in Canberra,” the Chief Minister said.

The Oddie telescope first looked to the skies in September 1911 after the Commonwealth was persuaded Australia needed an observatory in Canberra. The telescope was named after James Oddie of Ballarat, who donated the nine inch refracting telescope and Mt Stomlo was established as the Australian site for solar observing.

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17 Responses to
Replica telescope to celebrate Stromlo centenary
Gungahlin Al 7:11 am 26 Sep 11

Nice Milky Way pic BTW.

Gungahlin Al 7:11 am 26 Sep 11

Pretty much demonstrates it Deye. Even out at my choice spot at Wamboin, I can’t really scope anything to the southwest – the Canberra light glow looks like an unending dusk.

milkman 5:03 am 26 Sep 11

Hey Deye – those are some nice photos!

CanberraStroll 11:16 pm 25 Sep 11

yellowsnow said :

maybe we should institute regular citywide rolling blackouts (like in many third world countries, and quite a few first world ones too) to make people more familiar with what a clear night sky should look like.

Would save a lot of $$ and emissions too of course.

Well I’m sure that would be fine for those of us with cars, but I have to walk home from work every night. The street lighting is already very poor and with rolling blackouts my personal safety would be at risk. My area is already prone to night time violence and your brilliant suggestion would surely contribute to my areas appalling safety record.

GardeningGirl 11:02 pm 25 Sep 11

Nice special effects we supplied there in the first pic!

yellowsnow 8:53 pm 25 Sep 11

maybe we should institute regular citywide rolling blackouts (like in many third world countries, and quite a few first world ones too) to make people more familiar with what a clear night sky should look like.

Would save a lot of $$ and emissions too of course.

deye 3:57 pm 25 Sep 11

To illustrate GA’s comment, this photo is taken about 40km away from Canberra, which is supplying the back light.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/d-eye/4256136999/

If you head up Siding Springs way, this is the type of view you get
http://www.flickr.com/photos/d-eye/6177013667/

In Canberra it’s more like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/d-eye/2146003521/

And to show the light spread, this is Canberra at night, through the fog http://www.flickr.com/photos/d-eye/3653539809/ note the lights in the fog are so bright you can’t see the stars at this exposure level.

Given newer lighting technology it should be very easy, not too mention more energy efficient to have street and building lights that light where you need them and not up into the sky. Yes there will be some reflected light, but not as much as there currently is.

GardeningGirl 3:57 pm 25 Sep 11

Interesting about the streetlights Gungahlin Al.

Gungahlin Al 11:21 am 25 Sep 11

Bramina said :

deye said :

Gungahlin Al said :

I’ve taken our scopes up to Stromlo a few times, but really the light pollution from the Canberra streetlights is just too bad to bother there. Why, can anyone tell me, does our government insist on lighting the sky? I thought streetlights were to light – you know – the street?

IIRC street lighting in Canberra used to have to be a particular type so as not to affect Stromlo too much. That seems to have fallen by the wayside over the last decade or so.

I guess that cutting edge astronomy these days has to be conducted in very dark places away from even small population concentrations. It probably just isn’t worth policing that rule any more.

Even if you light only the ground, it will still reflect light into the sky.

I contest the “isn’t worth it” argument. You can stand on top of Stromlo and see the actual lights in streetlights. Any light that is pointing towards the sky is light wasted and therefore energy wasted and GHG unnecessarily produced and emitted. Better light design would mean less light needed and less cost to us the taxpayers, irrespective of how you feel about climate change.

Then there is the “dark skies” argument. We have entire generations of people who’ve grown up without ever seeing the Milky Way. I personally don’t believe that is a good thing. You lose the opportunity to encourage an interest in science for your children. And it could be argued that people are a bit more humble when that amazing sight in the sky is there every night reminding you of your rather minor role in the scheme of things. My opinion anyway…

Suffice to say, if I were despot, I’d be looking for a program of replacement over time of all streetlights for more efficient and dark-sky-friendly designs. And I would stomp on the LDA for continuing to install brand new crappy lights in new suburbs…

Bramina 10:37 am 25 Sep 11

deye said :

Gungahlin Al said :

I’ve taken our scopes up to Stromlo a few times, but really the light pollution from the Canberra streetlights is just too bad to bother there. Why, can anyone tell me, does our government insist on lighting the sky? I thought streetlights were to light – you know – the street?

IIRC street lighting in Canberra used to have to be a particular type so as not to affect Stromlo too much. That seems to have fallen by the wayside over the last decade or so.

I guess that cutting edge astronomy these days has to be conducted in very dark places away from even small population concentrations. It probably just isn’t worth policing that rule any more.

Even if you light only the ground, it will still reflect light into the sky.

deye 7:52 pm 24 Sep 11

Gungahlin Al said :

I’ve taken our scopes up to Stromlo a few times, but really the light pollution from the Canberra streetlights is just too bad to bother there. Why, can anyone tell me, does our government insist on lighting the sky? I thought streetlights were to light – you know – the street?

IIRC street lighting in Canberra used to have to be a particular type so as not to affect Stromlo too much. That seems to have fallen by the wayside over the last decade or so.

Gungahlin Al 7:25 pm 24 Sep 11

Sorry – release does say it will be available for public use – but skinny on details as to how…

Gungahlin Al 6:54 pm 24 Sep 11

I don’t know anything of the history of this scope, other than it getting burnt. And wondering if it will be used for public viewings.

I’ve taken our scopes up to Stromlo a few times, but really the light pollution from the Canberra streetlights is just too bad to bother there. Why, can anyone tell me, does our government insist on lighting the sky? I thought streetlights were to light – you know – the street?

I prefer to go out the back of Wamboin. Last good stargazing night, with our 8″ Dobsonian, we found five globular clusters and revisited the Tarantula Nebula. Very hard to see them from Stromlo unfortunately.

GardeningGirl 1:40 pm 24 Sep 11

Spectra said :

Wonderful news! I didn’t know this was even happening. The loss of the original Oddie was very sad indeed, both for anyone who cares about Canberra’s history and for local amateur astronomers alike.

+1

Spectra 12:35 pm 24 Sep 11

Wonderful news! I didn’t know this was even happening. The loss of the original Oddie was very sad indeed, both for anyone who cares about Canberra’s history and for local amateur astronomers alike.

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