Monday, April 18, 2011

Some of us are looking at the stars

In January 2003, Canberra was hit by huge bushfires which killed four people, injured nearly 500, and destroyed or damaged over 400 homes. On Saturday 18 January, I remember being at work at the National Museum of Australia and seeing the black cloud of smoke from the firestorm darkening the sky. While our home wasn't in the direct line of the worst of it, there were sparks and ashes flying overhead, we'd filled the gutters with water, and we had the most important things packed and ready to go if necessary. It was a frightening time, and must have been absolutely terrifying for those in the middle of it all.

One of the casualties of the fires was the Mt Stromlo Observatory. There had been an observatory on the site since 1911, but by 2003 there were a significant number of telescopes, workshops, residences and other buildings. This is part of what's left of one of them - the Yale-Columbia telescope building. The dome collapsed, and the telescope itself was destroyed, leaving just the walls and part of the concrete telescope support structure.

And yes, the sky really was that colour today!

As well as the ruins and newer working telescope facilities, the site has picnic facilities and a cafe (although it's closed on Mondays, so I can't report on that aspect).

Mt Stromlo Observatory
Mt Stromlo Road
Weston Creek
Ph: 6162 2388 (Scope Cafe)

1 comment:

Jim said...

Terrific shot.