INTERESTING FACT: Earth is the third planet from the Sun and is the largest of the terrestrial planets. Earth is the only planet in our Solar System not to be named after a Greek or Roman deity.
Long before Galileo pointed his small telescope to the night skies in 1610, the stars have mesmerised the senses of humans since time immemorial. 300 million years later of human evolution, we have landed humans on the Moon, landed space probes on Mars, other planetary moons, on a Comet and an Asteroid, and yet, we still look up and marvel at the Milky Way stars.
Because the night skies over the South Burnett are relative darker than those closer to the Coast, it was not hard to see why the Kingaroy Observatory (formerly Maidenwell Observatory) was established in August 2004.
Since then, tens of thousands of starry-eyed visitors have peered into the Observatory’s large telescopes, to see close up detail of Mars, Jupiter, Rings of Saturn, Moon craters, Binary Stars, Nebula, Galaxies and Stars clusters. During your night visit, astronomer and Observatory owner James Barclay, with over 60 years of experiences, gives you a running commentary during the 2-hour session and a green laser guided tour of the night skies.
They can seat up to 40 persons on the Observation deck with the telescopes, and up to 70 in the Star Theatre, where they give audio/visual presentations of Space and Beyond and show you the Sun’s surface, as seen via a special solar telescope. But it’s at night, the Observatory shines.
Best times for stargazing is Autumn/Winter/Spring as that is when the skies have less cloud and day temps are a lot cooler. You also see more of the Milky Way then in Summer.
So if you want to get a ‘handle’ on what is up there and how it looks in large, powerful telescopes, phone, email, or book online, as bookings are essential.
Show dates are available from their brochures, Facebook page, and website. Kingaroy Observatory is located in Geoff Raph Drive, 250m up from the town’s airport.
The Kingaroy Observatory can cater for groups including school and bus trips.
An added consideration for visitors is the range of telescopes and equipment that is for sale, perfect for budding astronomers wanting to extend their viewing experience of the magnificent South Burnett skies.