Campbelltown Rotary Observatory
|Organization||Western Sydney University|
|Location||Campbelltown, NSW, Australia|
|Established||15 July 2000|
|Related media on Wikimedia Commons|
Campbelltown Rotary Observatory in Campbelltown, NSW, Australia was opened in 2000 and is owned by the University of Western Sydney. It consists of twin domes of 4.5m and 2.9m diameter. The patron of the Observatory was the late Sir Arthur C Clarke CBE. The Observatory Director is Dr. Ragbir Bhathal. It was previously called UWS Rotary Observatory.
Objectives and activities
The observatory is utilised by Western Sydney University for its Optical SETI Research Project and as a field laboratory. It conducts the National Project on Significant Australian Physicists, Astrophysicists and Engineers and the National Project on Aboriginal Astronomy. It also organises a community outreach program, including observing nights and public astronomy lectures, often in conjunction with Macarthur Astronomical Society and the Macarthur Astronomy Forum.
Its stated mission objective is to:
- Train future scientists and engineers.
- Serve as a laboratory for engineering students to carry out innovative projects.
- Undertake education research in engineering physics and related engineering disciplines.
- Advance the search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence in the optical spectrum.
- Record and assess the major developments and discoveries of Australia's significant astrophysicists, physicists and engineers.
- Advance the study of 40,000 years of Aboriginal astronomy.
- Undertake community engagement activities.
The construction of the observatory was principally funded in cash and kind from the Campbelltown Branch of Rotary International and other local organisations. It was opened on 15 July 2000 by the Hon. Michael Knight (MP for Campbelltown and Minister for the 2000 Olympics) on a small hilltop on land at the rear of the University of Western Sydney Campbelltown Campus. The University was renamed Western Sydney University in 2015.
In 2013 the land on which the observatory stood was sold to make way for the new residential suburb of Macarthur Heights and the observatory domes were temporarily closed and removed, while the hill was bulldozed. The observatory was reopened in 2015 in a new position closer to the University campus buildings. The developers of the new estate of Macarthur Heights recognised the astronomical heritage of the site by naming new streets with an astronomical theme and by erecting an astro-sculpture known as the Gates of Light in a public park close to the new and old observatory sites. The first public night in the new location was held in collaboration with Macarthur Astronomical Society on 5 December 2015.
Originally named as UWS Rotary Observatory, since its relocation in 2015 it has been known as Campbelltown Rotary Observatory.
- "Macarthur Heights". Archived from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2015.