Siding Spring Observatory - SSO (Est 1964)
The Mountain: Siding Spring is situated on the peak of Mt Woorut, in the Warrumbungle National Park of Central West NSW. SSO is operated by the Australian National University. At an of elevation is 1165m above mean sea level, the site encompasses around 115 hectares on a ridge that was once the center of an enormous but now extinct volcano.
History of Siding Spring Observatory (SSO): In the early 1960’s, the then Director of Mt Stromlo Observatory (MSO) in Canberra, Professor Bart Bok, started a project to identify and establish a new site for observing the southern night sky. In May 1962, Siding Spring was chosen to be the site of the new observatory for the University thanks to its optimum levels of humidity, clarity, darkness, elevation and consistent clear weather pattern with 70% clear skies per year and very good seeing averages. Construction began in 1963, the first telescopes were opened in 1964. It has since become Australia's premier astronomical facility for Optical, Infrared & Spectroscopic observations. It hosts many Australian and International Remote Telescopes with its 4 meter AAO instrument one of the largest equatorial mounted telescopes in the world.