Sydney Observatory exhibits explore the themes of astronomy and meteorology, as well as providing a glimpse of the Sydney Observatory’s place as a leading centre for astronomical and meteorological research in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
You may borrow a self-guided tour and plan of the Observatory building from Reception which will give you more of an idea of what you can see and do here. We have provided a printable copy of the self-guided Sydney Observatory exhibits tour here if you would rather see and/or print one before you visit.
THROUGHOUT SYDNEY OBSERVATORY
Stories from Siding Spring Observatory:
Photographs by staff of the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO)
18 April 2013 to 13 August 2013
Siding Spring Observatory, near the NSW town of Coonabarabran, is Australia’s most important optical observatory. The photos in this exhibition, taken by the staff of the AAO, tell stories of life and work at the observatory.
Check out our self-guided tour of the Siding Spring Observatory photographs here showing where you will find the photographs displayed at Sydney Observatory.
THROUGHOUT SYDNEY OBSERVATORY
Winning sky photos: David Malin Astrophotography Awards
From August 2013
See the winning photos from this premier annual Australian astrophotography competition displayed throughout the Observatory building.
You still have time to submit your photograph entry into this competition. Entries close 1 June 2013. More….
SYDNEY OBSERVATORY – GROUND FLOOR
By the light of the southern stars
The exhibits in the ground floor rooms make up the exhibition ‘By the light of the southern stars’, a history of Australian astronomy and the southern night sky. Displays include original instruments from the past and present, specially-built hands-on exhibits to intrigue children and adults alike, and unique audiovisuals.
Share the fascination of the astronomers who have worked at Sydney Observatory and marvel at some of the instruments they used. Take a guided trip through time as Henry Chamberlain Russell, Government Astronomer from 1870-1905 talks about his life at the Observatory.
See two of the clocks Matthew Flinders, who captained the first voyage around Australia and prepared a detailed chart of the coastline, relied on for accurate navigation.
Observatory Hill is the highest natural point in Sydney Harbour. Originally part of the Eora people’s land (like the rest of Sydney), after colonisation it became the site of a windmill, then a fort, then a signal station, and finally an observatory. View the changes on and around the hill through objects, graphics and a computer interactive that explores Sydney through the use of colonial pictures.
Enjoy one of the best views in Sydney with virtual reality technology and compare the view you can see today from the top of Sydney Observatory’s time ball tower, with the same view from the 1800s.
Find out about the time keeping, surveying, meteorological and astronomical photographic work carried out here through a display of the Observatory’s own 19th and 20th century instruments.
In ‘The solar system: the sun and its family’ part of the exhibition, take charge of the solar system and make the Moon circle the Earth and the planets circle the Sun. Use an interactive to watch the Earth spin on its axis and orbit around the Sun as the Moon orbits around the Earth to create night and day, the seasons and the phases of the Moon.
Cadi Eora birrung
Aboriginal people were Australia’s first astronomers and they have watched the southern sky for more than 18,000,000 nights. This exhibit shows constellations in the southern sky and explains how they were created from an Aboriginal perspective.
The stories are told through animation and interactives, providing a unique perspective of our night sky.