Sydney Observatory
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See the Southern Sky
In the 1850s, a rugged hill overlooking Sydney Harbour was capped with the Sydney Observatory by English astronomer and clergyman William Scott. In the early years, the sandstone structure was used primarily for time-keeping and navigation, but it developed into an observatory that has been illuminating the southern sky for astronomers and space nuts for more than a century. Sydney has much more light pollution today, but the retractable copper dome—the original observatory building—does a good job of blocking the city out and bringing distant constellations and nebulae into view. Depending on the time of year, the resident astronomer will target planets such as Jupiter and Saturn as well as only-in-the-Southern-Hemisphere sights such as Alpha and Beta Centauri, the two stars that point to the Southern Cross constellation, or the astronomer's favorite: Jewel Box, a rare cluster of glimmering stars whose different colors reflect distinct ages. After they get schooled in stars and galaxies, visitors sit down in a small theater to watch a 3D movie about some of the most extreme places in space. From the rugged surface of Jupiter to distant moons, travelers feel like they've traversed the Universe, offering a new appreciation for Earth and beyond.
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