27 March 2019

You Can Help Restore the Great Melbourne Telescope

Richard Fienberg, AAS Press Officer

This announcement is posted on behalf of Simon Brink, Museums Victoria, Australia:

The Great Melbourne Telescope is a fantastic piece of 19th-century engineering, manufactured by Thomas Grubb in Dublin, Ireland, around 1867-1868 and installed at the Melbourne Observatory, Victoria, Australia, in 1869. The telescope is significant internationally as one of the first large telescopes and the first to utilize an equatorial axis with a clockwork drive to allow automated tracking of celestial objects. The reflector was relocated to Mount Stromlo Observatory New South Wales in 1945, where it recorded perhaps the first evidence of dark matter as gravitational lensing around a massive compact halo object (MACHO). The telescope remained in active service until 2003, when it was significantly damaged during a large bush fire.

Great Melbourne Telescope

An active team of Astronomical Society of Victoria volunteers is now restoring the telescope on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in Melbourne, where it will ultimately return to its original location. Museums Victoria is coordinating the restoration and would be keen to hear from AAS members interested in volunteering on the project for a minimum of three months, as part of extended travel to Australia. Skills needed include mechanical engineering, mechatronics, fabrication, computer design, and digital communications.

For more information email Simon Brink, Great Melbourne Telescope Restoration Project Manager, Museums Victoria.