Smoke damage to four buildings housing telescopes at observatory

Jan 16, 2013 by Sunanda Creagh
A handout aerial image released by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service on 14 January 2013 shows the partly destroyed Siding Spring Observatory in the Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran in New South Wales. Credit: EPA/NSW Rural Fire Service

Four buildings containing telescopes at Australia's largest astronomical observatory have suffered smoke damage in a bushfire, the Australian National University said today.

Access to the Siding Spring Observatory (SSO) in the Warrumbungle Mountains remains very limited but the ANU, which runs the Obervatory, said in a statement that an initial visual assessment had revealed that:

  • Three buildings have been destroyed (The Lodge, a cottage and a storage building)
  • Three buildings have been badly damaged (The Visitors Centre and two sheds)
  • Four telescopes appear to have some smoke damage to their buildings
The centre will be closed for two weeks while the damage is assessed.

ARC Super Science Fellow at the Australian Dr Amanda Bauer, who uses the 3.9m Anglo-Australian at the SSO—the largest in Australia—said she understood that investigators were yet to check if the telescopes in the smoke-damaged buildings still worked.

"As far as I know, they haven't actually been inside the buildings yet. There are still fires in the area and they are working on getting water and sewerage up and running first," she said.

"We have made some attempts to remotely communicate with the computer systems and some of those have been successful."

Explore further: Comet Jacques makes a 'questionable' appearance

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fire hits top Australian telescope site

Jan 13, 2013

Australia's top research observatory, which houses telescopes used by scientists from around the world, was damaged by a large wildfire Sunday as hot weather and storms stoked dozens of new blazes.

Astronomers find coldest, driest, calmest place on Earth

Aug 31, 2009

The search for the best observatory site in the world has lead to the discovery of what is thought to be the coldest, driest, calmest place on Earth. No human is thought to have ever been there but it is expected to yield ...

Lessons from the Christchurch earthquake

Nov 21, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A leading Infrastructure academic believes an assessment needs to be made of the level of "very rare" earthquake that needs to be considered in structural design, perhaps one with a 10,000 year return period ...

Recommended for you

Comet Jacques makes a 'questionable' appearance

13 hours ago

What an awesome photo! Italian amateur astronomer Rolando Ligustri nailed it earlier today using a remote telescope in New Mexico and wide-field 4-inch (106 mm) refractor. Currently the brightest comet in ...

Image: Our flocculent neighbour, the spiral galaxy M33

13 hours ago

The spiral galaxy M33, also known as the Triangulum Galaxy, is one of our closest cosmic neighbours, just three million light-years away. Home to some forty billion stars, it is the third largest in the ...

Image: Chandra's view of the Tycho Supernova remnant

Jul 25, 2014

More than four centuries after Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe first observed the supernova that bears his name, the supernova remnant it created is now a bright source of X-rays. The supersonic expansion of ...

User comments : 0