By Tyler Wright
Astronomy lovers will be able to take a sneak peek into the world of a local observatory this month, with Mount Burnett Observatory (MBO) opening its doors to the public.
As part of Open House Melbourne program – MBO volunteers will open the facility on Saturday 29 July for daytime and evening tours of the iconic Monash Dome.
The organisation’s events coordinator, Kim Steere, said an observatory is not something you see very often.
“We’re really pleased to be able to open it up to let people come through and to be part of Open House Melbourne,” Ms Steere said.
“It’s a special event, it’s been going for 11 or 12 years in Victoria…. [visitors will] get to see the Monash Dome, which is the star of the observatory with our telescope in it.”
Attendees will also be able to learn all about the different types of telescopes and how to use them, check out the observatory’s radio astronomy equipment and talk to the experts about the ‘mind-blowing’ future of astronomy.
“Last year, we were open both days. This year we’re just doing the Saturday, but we’ll have daytime and evening tours,” Ms Steere said.
“We had lots of families through, which is interesting because it’s primarily an architectural event, but the people were amazed to see an observatory and one that’s working, and to see the telescope, because the telescope is quite large.
“The team of volunteers that we have is amazing, and they’re also enthusiastic and so generous with their time and their knowledge. Happy to explain anything, answer any question, and we’re all just really proud to be able to show the observatory off.”
The MBO is the only building open in the outer east as part of this year’s Open House event, which will see architectural buildings across the state open over the weekend of Saturday 29 July and Sunday 30 July.
“People are coming through for a tour which runs for about an hour, and they’re likely to stop off in Emerald or Berwick, whichever direction they come from. So it’s good for the community as well,” Ms Steere said.
Tours will run at10am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm on the day, for 60 minutes during the day and 90 minutes at night.
The tours will run in groups of 45, with 270 spots available in total.
Bookings to the free event are essential, and can be made at https://openhousemelbourne.org/event/mount-burnett-observatory/
All ages are welcome, with partial wheelchair access available and accessible parking nearby.
Those attending are advised to look for the MBO board at the driveway entrance at 420 Paternoster Road in Mount Burnett.
Light refreshments will also be available.