Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

Ph: 02 6337 3988 | Email Enquires:

  • Venus, Mercury and Jupiter are converging in the western evening twilight. Go outside and watch them over this coming week as they get closer. On the evening of the 28th of August, Venus and Jupiter will be at their closest. In reality the planets are actually no where near each other, but it is a line of sight perspective as viewed from Earth. This image was from the 20th. Venus is the lower brightest object, Mercury the upper left of the triangle and Jupiter the upper right.
  • Average stars (like our sun) certainly end their lives beautifully. This is M27. It is another example of a star shedding its outer layers in a giant bubble of gasses. The hot core of the dying star illuminates the gasses.
  • On Sunday the 14th August 2016, there was a double eclipse on the planet Jupiter. The moons Ganymede and Io cast their shadows on Jupiter. Ganymede has the larger shadow and the moon itself can just be seen to the  upper left of the planet. The image is a bit fuzzy due to the planet being fairly low in the sky.
  • It took some time, but I made some adjustments to the way I image planets with one of the telescopes. This is Saturn on the 13th of August 2016.
  • Globular star cluster M22 is in the constellation of Sagittarius. It is about 10,000 light years away. The background of the milky way certainly makes this a very rich star field!
  • I had a clear night and decided to do an imaging run. This is the Helix Nebula. It is basically the outer layers (like a giant gas bubble) being shed from a dying star. The distance away is estimated to be about 450 light years. It is fairly faint, so it takes a bit of effort to capture in an image.
  • August is a great month for stepping outside to see five planets with your own eyes! This computer simulation shows the planets just after sunset around mid August. Mercury, Venus and Jupiter will be low in the western sky, while Mars and Saturn will be fairly high in the sky. Venus will be very bright and forms a nice triangle with Mercury and Jupiter. Watch them over a few nights as they slowly change position.
  • M16 the Eagle Nebula. It is famous mainly from a Hubble image known as the "pillars of creation". You can see the pillars of gas in the middle of the image. I find just a wonderful part of the sky and really nice nebula. I imaged this in July.
  • The image of Saturn proved popular, so here is a 'test image' ,using video stacking techniques, of the planet Jupiter. August will be a good month for the planets, as Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn will all be visible during the month of August in the evening sky!
  • M17 is a wonderful star forming nebula. I imaged this a couple of weeks ago but decided to share it. It is sometimes called the swan or omega nebula. You can see some darker thicker clouds of gas that still have stars forming deep within them.
  • A wonderful galaxy, NGC 6744. This galaxy is about 30 million light years away. What makes it special is that it is most likely what our own galaxy, the Milky Way looks like. It would be much more famous except that it is really only viewable from the Southern Hemisphere.
  • The Moon and Jupiter appeared next to each other as seen from Earth on the evening of the 9th of July.
  • One the best colour combinations in the sky. The Trifid Nebula is a combination of pink emission nebula and blue reflection nebula.
  • This will be the last image of comet Panstarrs for a while due to bad weather this week. The Moon will start to brighten the sky later this week as well. Also notice the faint nebula in the lower right in this rich part of the sky. Image 3rd July 2016.
  • The lagoon nebula, M8. Imaged in late June 2016.
  • The latest image of comet x1 Panstarrs. This was taken on the 29th June 2016. The comet is moving into a rich star field of the milky way. The tail has a nice curve to it too!
  • I managed to finally get about an hour break in the cloud and image comet X1 Panstarrs. The comet is not quite visible to the eye, but certainly nice in the field of view of the research telescope. (25th June 2016). The comet is slowly fading as it moves away from the sun and Earth.
  • I promised a another image of the popular NGC 6231 region. I had imaged it again in May, but have only just processed it in StarTools.
  • As many in the region will know, we have had cloudy and bad weather for about two weeks. That means no new images. So I have used the time to re-process some images. This is the eta carina nebula. Sorry to those who have tried to book this long weekend, as I am booked out.
  • I have been using this great program called StarTools to process my images of late. It is specifically made for astrophotography and I admit that I am impressed. Here is an image of the galaxy NGC5128 using StarTools. The galaxy itself is merging with another, and hence the dark dust lane.
  • Galaxy M83. Imaged 29th May. I find this galaxy just epic!
  • I recently imaged M64, the Black Eye Galaxy. About 24 million light years away. It has an unusual dark band of gas and dust. The dark patch is the result of a merger with another galaxy. Don't forget that June is the month for viewing Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Keep an eye on the website, I may add extra tours!
  • Now is the best time to view the planet Mars. It will be a highlight of our tours through June. However, there is also Jupiter and Saturn to view as well. The image is a simulation, looking east, to help you spot Mars and Saturn. Jupiter can been seen shining brightly in the northern sky (from Australia).
  • Around 5:00 pm Wednesday 18th May, people around the central west started calling about a strange bright orb in the southern sky. I saw it too!!!! I managed to get the telescope  trained on it and was able to image it. As you can see, it turns out to be a giant NASA weather balloon! There was some hazy cloud too. The balloon drifted slowly westwards. For more info on its purpose
  • The Moon is too bright to image deep sky objects. So before my tour, I turned one of the telescopes to the Moon. This is the view my visitors had during the tour on the 13th of May.
  • Just as a break from galaxy images, I thought I would image the NGC6231 region. The larger of the glowing hydrogen gas clouds is called the prawn nebula. In a couple of months, I will image it again when it is higher in the evening sky.
  • I really love galaxy NGC4565. It is a spiral galaxy seen side on. It is fairly low in the Northern sky but still shows nice detail despite the smoke haze. May 2016.
  • Galaxy M90. Another spiral, which is seen at an angle (rather than face on). Let me know when you are all tired of seeing distant galaxies! The galaxy is another member of the Virgo cluster of galaxies.
  • Galaxy M100 (and others in the image too). About 55 million light years away. I have just finished imaging this (high winds tonight too). I may post a better image once I have processed tonight's images. I did image a few galaxies and will post them over coming days. 1st May 2016.
  • NGC 4038. This is a pair of spiral galaxies in the process of collision. It is also known as the antenna galaxy, because if you look closely, you might notice the very faint drawn out arms of the spirals, somewhat looking like antenna.
  • Galaxy M104 is a side on spiral. Note the dark gas and dust that encircle the galaxy. It is about 28 million light years away, but shows up well in a wide angle view from the research telescope.
  • My son wanted to attempt an image of Jupiter. Here is his first try. Planets are the hardest things to try and capture. So not bad at all!
  • M95 and M96 are a pair of spiral galaxies in the constellation of Leo. The are about 36 million light years away. I do like the central bar within M95. April  2016
  • Just near the Southern Cross is the Jewel Box star cluster. This type  of cluster is known as an open cluster. The region is also a rich star field. April 2016.
  • M83 has to be one of the best face on spiral galaxies. It is about 15 million light years away. This is a wide angle view using the research telescope. March 2016.
  • NGC 5128. Also called Centaurus A, it is a large galaxy currently merging with a spiral galaxy. The dark lane is gas from the spiral. Deep in the heart of NGC 5128 is an active black hole.
  • I recently re imaged and processed the M42 nebula to highlight the details (particularly in the darker parts of the nebula). I hope you enjoy.
  • Comet 252P/Linear, March 16th. This comet is going to pass by Earth fairly closely on March 21st. At a distance of 5.4 million km, there is no chance of hitting Earth, but it ranks as the 5th closest pass of a comet. It is a bit too faint to see without a telescope, and with a bright Moon, it will be even harder.
  • Omega Centauri rates as the best globular star cluster. Even with  the wide angle telescope, it takes up a lot of the view. It is a spherical ball of stars about 16,000 light years away. Mar 2016
  • Three galaxies (M 66, M65 and NGC 3628) form a nice triplet in the constellation of Leo. March 2016. They are about 35 million light years away. I Imaged these to test the new camera. I have found the software doesn't like the camera! A bit more tweaking required.
  • Nebula NGC 2174. This is located near Orion and is known as the Monkey Face nebula. At least I can make out this one! I also had a meeting this week to plan out some very exciting things for the observatory. I will announce more as they come up.
  • This is IC2948, a nebula near the Southern Cross. It is known as the "Running Chicken" nebula. I have looked at it a few times, and just can't see it myself! Feb 2016.
  • I had delayed posting this image. It is the horsehead nebula region in Orion. The bright star is the eastern most of Orion's belt. Just below this star is the Flame nebula. This was a test image with the F2 system on the research telescope.
  • A clear evening and a wonderful Moon. The Moon presents a nice easy target for imaging. 17th Feb 2016. The crater Copernicus is just emerging from the shadows of the Moon's terminator.
  • Large but faint. The Rosette Nebula is in the constellation of Monoceros near Orion. This is again a wide angle view.
  • Something I promised a few weeks ago is a wide angle view of the Eta Carina Nebula with the new F2 equipment.  Eta Carina would have to be one of the best nebula. Compare this wide angle view with the post from 16th Jan.
  • A clear night gave me the chance to try the research scope at wide angle. (Technically C14, at F2). Nebula M42 and M43 were the test targets. The wide angle equipment was purchased as part of the AMP Tomorrow Fund grant.
  • This is a close up part view of the Pleiades cluster. The wider angle telescope should fit them all in soon. They are sometimes called the seven sisters and quite prominent in the northern sky (Australia) after dark this time of year. To the eye they look like a tight cluster of stars surrounded by a haze.

Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

Bathurst NSW Australia

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Bathurst Observatory Research Facility is an observatory site primarily for education, research and study, though we do offer general public viewing nights.


Open Nights Star Tours.

Open Nights Star Tours

Bookings essential for all tours.

(All tours subject to weather)


Night Tours are on hold until the move to the new site

Tours are generally on Friday and Saturday Nights, please see below for days and dates scheduled.

 Scheduled Tour dates:-

October 2017 Tour Dates

Note, Bathurst Observatory is on the move!!!! September was our last planned tours until we can start from the new site! Hopefully this transistion won't take long.

I am hoping I may be able to squeeze in a few last tours in mid to late Ocotober. Then bigger, better and more exciting tours will come (hopefully from Decmeber)  

Bookings essential.

Please note that the main telescope is pretty big and requires use of a small stepladder for viewing. Please advise if you would have difficulties with steps and we can set up a different telescope.

 There are no tours for the week near Full Moon. The moon is too bright to see the stars.

In addition to normal tours, midweek tours can be arranged (except Sundays) for groups of 10 or more.
* There may be some mid week research nights where tours are not available.

Tours Prices

Costs :

Adults $15 per person

Children/Concession $10.00 per person

(Note: we have NO credit card facilities)

Tour bookings and enquires, phone (6337 3988), or email us. (Email is by far the best way to get us, if you don't get a reply it means you have us blocked!!! Please change your settings!).

How to find us? See Location!



Why "Open Nights"?

Bathurst Observatory in eveningWe used to do tours in the observatory dome. However, we found that the dome itself blocked out most of the night sky! Our visitors wanted to view through a telescope but be able to see and hear about the wonders of the night sky at the same time. We particularly had many visitors from urban areas wanting to see a nice dark country sky full of stars. The solution, set up the public telescope as nature wanted us to, on cleared ground next to the observatory, under the wonder of the Southern stars.

Our tours are conducted with the only guide with over fifteen years educational astronomy experience and with Bachelor of Education Honours Degree! Our guide is also an internationally recognised expert in the field of meteorites.

Tours require bookings and are weather dependent. (We can't see stars through clouds!) Tour duration is about 1 hour, depending on time of year.

We cater for all school astronomy and space excursions, as well as general public telescope tours of the night sky. Primarily we offer our open night tours to inspire everyone to look to the night sky.

The Milky Way stretches overhead in this view taken at the Bathurst Observatory Research Facility - 6th July 2013The Milky Way stretches overhead in this view taken at the Bathurst Observatory Research Facility.
The Bathurst Observatory Research Facility (Research and Meteorite Related Enquires and Public Viewing Nights)

The Bathurst Observatory Research Facility, located on the current site on Limekilns Road north east of Bathurst. At the research site, we study, comets, asteroids, variable stars, meteors and meteorites. For research related enquires phone (02) 6337 3988.

We also welcome any enquires or questions you may have on Astronomy, Space or meteorite related matters.

Our facebook page is regularly updated, so have a look for the latest news and images from the observatory.


Other Tours

Meteorite and Mineral Display

Solar Telescope Tours (Viewing the Sun)

On occasions, we are able to offer daytime telescope views of the sun. We have a special telescope that allows you to SAFELY view the sun. At present the availability of these tours will depend on three factors.

  1. that I'm available on the day.
  2. it is not cloudy.
  3. that the sun has some active features.

The third point is important, as sometimes the sun can be quiet and not as interesting to see.

These tours will be about 15 minutes in duration and by gold coin donation. Bookings for a solar tour would be essential.


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    Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

    (Open Night Tours, Research and Meteorite related enquires)
    624 Rossmore Park, Limekilns Rd, KELSO NSW 2795. Australia
    Phone: 02 6337 3988 | International: +61 2 6337 3988
    Email Enquires:


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