• Hannah Phillips

Seeing Stars: Funding for The Rock Observatory

The Rock Regional Observatory has received $100,000 from the NSW State Government’s 2017 Community Building Partnership program to construct an astronomical observatory on the grounds of The Rock showground to be used for research, education and tourism.

Daryl Maguire MP, Local Member for Wagga Wagga said he is excited about what the scientific project will bring to the region.

“I am over the moon with the opportunity this is going to bring for The Rock.

“This is the only observatory in the South East of the State and it is going to be fantastic for students to visit, learn and explore the universe through a telescope.” Mr Maguire said.

The observatory is a joint project between Astronomy Scientist Dr Graeme White, The Rock Progress Association and supporting members of the community.

Lockhart Shire General Manager Peter Veneris congratulated The Rock Progress Association on bringing together major stakeholders required for the unique project.

“It is focused on tourism, education and innovation, with the Observatory being able to be used for visitor viewing, education and research it has the potential to become a significant regional tourist attraction as well as a unique educational resource.”

Dr White who will be the main researcher at the regional observatory said the proposed double domed building will have two telescopes, one dedicated solely to research.

“It will be part of a double star astrometric program, where we catalogue the pairs magnitudes, colours, separation and relative position of the stars and there will be many other research programs as well.” said Dr White.

Gail Driscoll, secretary of The Rock Progress Association said it will be run by volunteers.

“We want the community to get the most out of being able to gaze at the stars, stimulate their minds with the wonders of science and potentially find a new career path.”