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Sydney Observatory was built in 1848 as a simple time-ball tower near the signal station at Fort Phillip. Soon the tower was expanded into a full observatory.
The new observatory was designed by Alexander Dawson and consisted of a domed chamber to house the equatorial telescope; room for the transit telescope; computing room; and residence for the astronomer. In 1877 a second domed chamber for telescopes and a western wing to provide office and library space were added.
In 1880s, under Henry Chamberlain Russell, Sydney Observatory gained international recognition. Russell took some of the first astronomical photographs in the world and involved Sydney in the completion of the Astrographic catalogue, the first atlas of the sky.
Sydney Observatory was converted into a museum of astronomy and related fields in 1982. A branch of the Powerhouse Museum, the Observatory’s exhibitions, films, talks and night viewings give a glimpse of the history of astronomy and a chance to explore some of the most advanced technology of our time.
Sydney Observatory contact details
Watson Road, Observatory Hill, The Rocks, Sydney
Phone no: (02) 9241 3767
Fax no: (02) 9217 0489