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Aerial photo of the UK Schmidt dome with the AAT in the background

Date created: 1977-10-01


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 UK Schmidt Telescope (UKST), constructed in 1974, but since 1988 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. Many colour photographs made from UK Schmidt plates can be found here.

Against the rugged skyline of the Warrumbungle Mountains is the dome of the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT), the last of a series of 4m telescopes constructed in the mid-1970s. Many of the first colour photographs of southern hemsiphere objects were made using the AAT and they can be found here.  Both these instruments are constantly updated to exploit some of the world's darkest skies and their very wide fields of view. 

Credit: David Malin

© Australian Astronomical Observatory