The Anglo-Australian Telescope turns 40

On 16th October 1974, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales formally opened the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT, Siding Spring Observatory, NSW, Australia) for scientific operations. Hence the AAT (the telescope where I work) turned 40 last Thursday. We actually had some celebrations and events at the Australian Astronomical Observatory that day, including the release of this wonderful 8 min movie: Steve and the Stars,

The star of the show is Head Telescope Operator, Steve Lee, who has worked at the AAT for almost its entire 40 years of operation. Steve guides this video tour of working with the AAT, exploring how observational techniques have changed from the 1970s to today’s digital age, and the AAT’s exciting future pursuing more world-class discoveries. Famous astrophotographer David Malin co-stars the show. Some material taken from my astronomical time-lapses has been also used for this film.

After the public event for the “AAT 40th Anniversary Celebration” I couldn’t help myself and took this photo with all of us:

Photo taken at the end of the public event for the “AAT 40th Anniversary Celebration”, Thursday 16th Oct 2014. From left to right: Warrick Couch (AAO Director), Steve Lee (Head AAT Operators), Amanda Bauer (AAO Outreach Officer), David Malin (AAO famous astrophotographer) and Andrew Hopkins (Head of AAT Astro Science). Ah, yes, it is also me smiling as a little kid. Credit: Á.R.L.-S.

Happy 40th Birthday, AAT!

2 responses to “The Anglo-Australian Telescope turns 40

  1. Could you please tell me who owns the Anglo Australian Observatory

    • Hi William. It is not the “Anglo-Australian Observatory” anymore. In July 2010, when the UK decided do not continue supporting the institution, the name of the organization was changed to “Australian Astronomical Observatory”. Since July 2018 the AAO was “divided” into 2 different things: the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT), that never changed name, was transferred to a consortium of Australian Universities lead by the ANU (Australian National University). The astronomy, instrument and computing group in Sydney (where I belong) was transferred to Macquarie University (Sydney) with the name of “Australian Astronomical Optics”, AAO-MQ. Nodes of the “Australian Astronomical Optics” were also created at the University of Sydney (AAO-Syd) and the ANU (AAO-ANU). I hope this helps!

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