YRPS has had an early start to the new year with an outing to the Mount Burnett Observatory on Saturday January 21. A gathering point near the Cockatoo township and with coffee in hand, we made our way to the observatory. The site is not easy to find and is possibly not known to most Melbournians. Established in the early 1970s by Monash University, the observatory was operated by the Physics Department’s staff and research students. In 2010, Monash decided to decommission the site and a new lease was negotiated by four senior members of the Astronomical Society of Victoria and a former professional astronomer. Together they formed the Mount Burnett Observatory Inc, and to be used as a community astronomical observatory.
It was Open Day at the observatory and volunteers were on hand to explain the workings of the site. There were some smaller telescopes on display. Photographer Neil Creek had some fantastic images on display along with some of the equipment he uses to capture the milky way, galaxies and nebulae. A trip upstairs to the top of the dome and we saw the big telescope, while in the grounds there was the setup for the observatory’s two radio telescopes. All in all, an interesting hour was spent at the observatory, followed by a trip to the Gembrook Hotel for lunch.