View Full Version : Discussion: Destroyed Australian Observatory ...

2003-Jul-15, 09:46 AM
SUMMARY: In early 2003 bushfires destroyed much of Australia's Stromlo Observatory, including five telescopes and several support buildings. On Sunday, July 13, the Australian National University unveiled plans to rebuild the facilities on Mt Stromlo. In addition to building two new telescopes (including a two-metre robotic telescope), the University will also reconstruct several heritage buildings destroyed in the fire.

Comments or questions about this story? Feel free to share your thoughts.

2003-Jul-15, 03:24 PM
When I read about the wildfires, and the destruction of the observatory, I felt sick but was very glad that there were no deaths or injuries to those that are there. So it's with a happy heart that once again Australia rises out of the ashes!

Good luck and clear skies to all involved!!

2003-Jul-16, 12:30 AM
Being an Australian I can say that Mt Stromlo Observatory played a big part in all the lives of the professional and amateur astronomers. I remember many happy hours pouring over the Schmidt plates looking for objects to observe, then using the antique Oddie telescope to see them. We were all devestated when the fires destryed this treasure. the ironic thing is that the director of the time Bart Bok planted the pine trees as a shield against the light of the growing city. He was looking toward the future so that the observatory would function for years to come.

2003-Jul-16, 03:35 AM
Any idea on how much it will cost to rebuild and where the money will come from?


2003-Jul-16, 08:16 AM
The cost of rebuilding Mount Stromlo is estimated to be AU$50million. some of it is from the Federal government, some from the Australian National University, i9nsurance and donations. You can still donate by visiting www.anu.edu.au/fires

Six months on from the fires in my home town, I can't wait to visit the mountain again.

2003-Jul-17, 03:44 AM
Did you see the story about forest fires coming within 100 yards of the Steward Observatory outside Tucson, Arizona?

Every year my friend in Melbourne tells me they've got bush fires heading their way... makes me glad I'm not in that environment!


2003-Jul-17, 04:14 PM
I gotta agree, I have had my fair share of forest fires and seeing the destruction that they cause. Good luck to our friends "Down Under" in the rebuilding!!

By the way, I don't recall hearing or reading about this, but aside from the loss of the site and instruments, what else was lost? How much of the data and such was recovered/saved? :unsure:

Don Henry
2003-Jul-17, 06:44 PM
Thanks for the news about the rebuilding of the observatory at Mount Stromlo.
Good news is too rare. Best wishes to our antipodal comrades.

peter fitz
2003-Jul-18, 01:36 AM
It could be a good idea to cut the trees back around the complex next time? :ph34r: :lol:

2003-Jul-19, 12:28 AM
I'm from Melbourne and I was in Sydney for the weekend when the fires destroyed so much of Canberra (over 400 homes and several lives lost). I flew directly over the destruction as it was happening in both directions. It was a terrifying sight. The surrounding Alps looked like volcanos erupting. The damage to the Alpine national park is also tragic. I love going up there to ski every year and although Australian trees actually depend on bushfires to germinate, some of the species will take at leas 300 years to grow back to what they were. The Australian aboriginals used to light bushfires every year both to trap animals, and also to prevent the undergrowth from being to dense (thus avoiding major bushfires). When the first European settlers arrived, they apparently saw spotfires all the way down the East Coast. Sorry I wondered a bit off track.

I also remember there was much controversy at the time to do with the lack of organisation of the fire fighting services, which is unusual considering how often we get bushfires (every year in one form or another without exception).