Bathurst Observatory Research Facility needs a new home

TIME TO MOVE: Bathurst Observatory's Ray Pickard holding a map of Bathurst and also a map showing light pollution around the region which is impacting the observatory. Photo: SUPPLIED 041117ray2

TIME TO MOVE: Bathurst Observatory's Ray Pickard holding a map of Bathurst and also a map showing light pollution around the region which is impacting the observatory. Photo: SUPPLIED 041117ray2

BATHURST is growing at such a rate that soon the expanding suburbia will put an end to research and education work at the Bathurst Observatory Research Facility.

By road, the observatory is located six kilometres from the central business district on Limekilns Road, but developing areas of Kelso are just two kilometres away, as the crow flies.

And the observatory’s Ray Pickard said this is way too close.

“Though this [urban growth] is great news for the growth of Bathurst, the associated lights and glare, spells the end of the observatory at the current location,” he said. “It has a dramatic effect on some of the things we can see, but also how far we can see.

“Light is the enemy of telescopes.”

Mr Pickard said a dark sky was vital when looking through a telescope and “light pollution” was a problem not only for him, but many others star gazers across the world.

“One-third of the world can’t see the Milky Way due to light pollution,” he said.

The increasing light pollution is why Bathurst observatory needs a new home.

“I am hoping to find a place about 10 to 15 kilometres from town, with NBN access, to rebuild and relocate everything, including our home,” Mr Pickard said.

NBN access is vital to allow plans to continue for the observatory to be an educational point for people overseas.

Mr Pickard has put a call out to anyone who is located a maximum of 20 minutes drive from the CBD to contact him if they have suitable land.

Though this [urban growth] is great news for the growth of Bathurst, the associated lights and glare, spells the end of the observatory at the current location. - Bathurst Observatory Research Facility's Ray Pickard

He needs around 10 to 20 acres that is located at 800 metres or higher above sea level.

The site also needs to have clear views to the horizon.

“A location south or north of the city would be beset,” Mr Pickard said.

“It needs to have building permission as I need to build a new home for us.”

The observatory is privately owned so sponsorship or grants would be welcomed.

For more information, contact Ray Pickard on 6337 3988 or email info@bathurstobservatory.com.au.

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