Official opening of Bisdee Tier site by Governor scheduled for 23 February 2013
Five years in the making, the University of Tasmania’s new observatory at Bisdee Tier in the Midlands was officially opened by the Governor on Saturday, 23 February.
After a testing phase, the Greenhill Observatory – named after eminent physicist John Greenhill, now an Honorary Research Associate with the School of Mathematics and Physics – with its 1.27 metre optical telescope will be fully operationally by mid year. It is expected to play a starring role in major international projects aimed at detecting Earth-like planets in the universe.
When coupled with its scientific cameras, the biggest of which is due to arrive from Poland around the official opening date, the telescope will routinely observe stars up to 30,000 light years away – across the entire Milky Way galaxy. Supernovae and other galaxies out to millions of light years will be visible. It has been designed form the ground up to be remotely operable from the Sandy Bay campus, allowing UTAS astronomers and visiting collaborators from around the world to use it efficiently, safely and at a low running cost.
Bisdee Tier is 60 kilometres north of Hobart, accessible only via unsealed, gated roads across private property. Head astronomer Dr Andrew Cole estimates that the site is 100 times darker at night than Mt Canopus, which is now badly light-polluted due to encroaching suburbia.
The site includes a control room, kitchen and dormitory for visiting scientists.
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26 February, 2013