The Great Melbourne Telescope (1869) – reconstruction almost complete !

Original post 27 July 2020

The #GreatMelbourneTelescope was installed at the #MelbourneObservatory in 1869 and was one if the biggest in the world – I heard it hadn’t disappeared completely, and turns out there’s a huge restoration project putting it back together and recreating parts at #Scienceworks only got to fully almost there stage Nov last year ! Apparently you get to see it on tours there.

It’s had a long difficult history – it’s mirror was difficult to use, and because it didn’t have a complete cover, winds made it vibrate, so it was a bit of a failure, but still, it was ours and it was Great ! In 1945 the observatory closed and it was sold to #MtStromlo in Canberra, where they used the parts to create a new telescope, which turned out to be very useful in early digital astro-photography in the 1990s. Then the terrible 2003 Canberra bushfires destroyed the observatory- but parts survived and could be rescued (I’m sure all the astronomers were right behind the idea) and so they were shipped back to Melbourne and restoration has been ongoing since 2008 (it has its own twitter account).

The #royalbotanicgardens has rebuilt the retractable roof on its building too – which is way behind all the others, an area not open to visitors. Maybe we’ll get to see it and the #telescope at next years open house !

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