On a large dome-shaped projection screen, scenes of the celestial objects are created using various projector systems. During the planetarium session, our handsome guide shared with us how to identify the Southern Cross. I learnt that the Southern Cross, otherwise known as Crux, is a distinctive constellation that is easily visible from the southern hemisphere at any time of the year. I learnt to identify the two pointer stars above the horizon which will lead me to find the Southern Cross.
That night, our group also learnt about the Orion constellation. I was just amazed at the level of creativity that observers of astronomy used to imagine shapes and images by connecting seemingly distinct stars. It took me quite a while to imagine and visualize the belt of the Orion constellation, which supposedly resemble the image of a hunter.
During the planetarium session, I learnt that stars that look red burn at lower temperatures while stars that look blue burn at a higher temperature.
|Sydney Observatory, the modern computer-controlled reflecting telescope.|
After the planetarium session, we had the pleasure to visit the two different telescopes located in the compounds of the Sydney Observatory. One of the telescopes was a historic 1874 large refracting lens telescope that was definitely more than a century older than myself! All the participants of the night tour had the privilege to have a brief night telescope viewing session through this historic telescope. I learnt that it is the oldest working telescope in Australia! The other telescope in the Observatory was a modern computer-controlled reflecting telescope. Our tour group had the privilege to look through the modern telescope in the north dome as well.
Concluding the tour were a viewing of two videos, one of which was a humourous and educational video entitled "Bigger than Big".
Overall, I felt thankful for the rainy weather that night. The less than ideal weather condition allowed me to have a chance to enjoy a planetarium session. I find the night visit to the Sydney Observatory to be interesting and educational. Anyone who would like to learn a little more about astronomy would probably be find a night visit to Sydney Observatory to be a delightful experience. For AUD$18 per adult, I thought the experience was an affordable and educational one.
Please take note that night visits to the Observatory need to be booked and pre-paid. Telephone bookings for the night sessions close at 5 p.m. There is a limit of 20 persons per tour.
Watson Road, Observatory Hill, The Rocks.
For more information on the night visit, please visit:
20 Nov 2010: The evening at Observatory Park
18 Sep 2008: Finding our way to the Sydney Observatory
Also visit: Sydney, May 2012: A time to heal and to be inspired