As one of the most valuable observatory sites, Siding Spring has a lot to offer to its visitors. You will be able to find many informative and educational displays about telescopes and astronomy, with hands-on activities, augmented reality and multimedia presentations for the whole family in the Dome café and Visitor Centre.
Behind the Visitor Centre is the Australian Astronomical Observatory's (AAO) iconic Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT), Australia's largest optical telescope. The AAT is an impressive four storeys high and holds a 16 tonne ceramic glass mirror that is 3.9 metres in diameter. The Visitor Centre staff will advise you on how to avail of this great experience.
Within this amazing 300 tonne dome is a Viewing Gallery where you can see the telescope and read about its history and the discoveries it has made. At the AAT Viewing Gallery entrance is a lookout which overlooks the iconic Warrumbungle National Park. Take a moment to view the spectacular natural beauty of the landscape surrounding Siding Spring Observatory.
The Observatory also organises special events including an Open Day which is held annually on the Saturday of the long weekend in October, where visitors can enjoy many activities on site.
At the Open Day visitors can listen to Astronomy talks, meet astronomers and tour inside many of the telescope domes which are open to the public on this one day of the year. These tours include the AAT 3.9M, UK Schmidt, iTelescope.Net, 2.3M ANU and the LCGTN 2M telescope facilities.
Science in the Pub is also an annual feature of the event. Starting with a raffle and band in a local pub on Friday night, you can meet and talk with astronomers in casual surroundings. During the weekend there are guided walking tours of the observatory, talks by astronomers, scientists and engineers, and great activities for kids, it is an opportunity not to miss.
You can find out what was happening last year on Starfest.
Tours for schools and groups of all ages can be organised at any time on request. A minimum group size of 15 applies for all pre-booked tours.
Please use the tours booking form to make a request.
Please see our contact page for directions to the Observatory, including a map, opening hours and all contact details.