The telescopes of the Australian Astronomical Observatory
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The telescopes of the Australian Astronomical Observatory
Image and text © 1977-2002, Australian Astronomical Observatory, Photograph by David Malin.

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), 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.

Related AAT site images
AAT 1.   The 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT)
AAT 2.   The 1.2m UK Schmidt Telescope
AAT 3.   The telescope control console of the AAT
AAT 4a. The prime focus cage and an observer
AAT 4b. The prime focus cage and an older observer
AAT 4c. The prime focus cage and a displaced observer
MISC 2. The UK Schmidt buildings (foreground) and the AAT at Siding Spring
MISC 3. The AAT dome and the utilities building
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Updated by David Malin, 2012, March 17