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The AAT dome with the UK Schmidt building in the background

Date created: 1977-10-01

Tags: AAT, UKST, Siding Spring


The two telescopes of the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) are on Siding Spring Mountain in outback New South Wales, Australia. The observatory overlooks the Warrumbungle National Park, one of Australia's finest. In the foreground is the dome of the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) itself, and around its base is the red packing case that carried its 4 meter mirror from its final polishing England. Alongside it the concrete dummy mirror used as a test weight to balance the telescope during construction.

In the background of this arial photograph is the small dome of the UK Schmidt Telescope (UKST), and beyond is the Wedding Cake mountain, with the shoulder of Wheoa Mountain on the left. The Schmidt was constructed by the Royal Observatory, Edinburg in 1974, but since 1988 has been a vital part of the AAO. Despite its diminutive size the UKST has exquisite optics and a field of view much greater that the AAT. It has been used to make surveys of the largely unexplored southern sky, discovering new objects that are studied in more detail with the AAT. A collection of colour photographs made from UK Schmidt plates is also on this site.

Credit: David Malin

© Australian Astronomical Observatory