Tours at the Perth Observatory
Star viewing tours have been operating at the Observatory since the late 1980s.
The tours began as a way to further promote the Observatory's functions and provide some much-needed revenue. Over the years, a dedicated band of volunteers has worked closely with staff to help co-ordinate and run the tours.
Today, the tours are an integral part of the Observatory's outreach and education program.
View our Online Tours Calendar to find out what you might see on a night tour.
To make a tour booking, please phone the Observatory on (08) 9293 8255, Monday to Friday, between 8.30am and 3.30pm. Our tours are very popular so please book now to avoid disappointment!
Download our 203-2014 tour brochure or view the dates below:
Tour dates for the 2013/2014 season:
|MONTHS||DAY TOUR DATES||NIGHT TOUR DATES|
|July 2013||9, 11, 16, 18 (10am)
23, 24, 25 (10am & 12.30pm)
|August 2013||20 (12.30pm)
19, 22 (10am & 12.30pm)
|September 2013||17 (12.30pm)
18, 19 (10am & 12.30pm)
|27, 28, 29 (Dark Sky) : 7.00pm|
|October 2013||16, 17 (10am & 12.30pm)
23, 24 (10am & 12.30pm)
|4, 5, (Dark Sky) : 7.30pm
10, 11, 12 (Moonlit) : 7.30pm
19 (Full Moon) : 7.30pm
25, 26 (Dark Sky) : 7.30pm
|November 2013||13, 14 (10am & 12.30pm)
20, 21 (10am & 12.30pm)
|1, 2 (Dark Sky) : 8.00pm
8, 9, 10 (Moonlit) : 8.00pm
17 (Full Moon) : 7.30pm
22, 23, 24, 29, 30 (Dark Sky) : 8.00pm
|December 2013||10, 11, 12 (10am & 12.30pm)
|1, 5 (Dark Sky) : 8.30pm
6, 7, 8 (Moonlit) : 8.30pm
20, 21 (Dark Sky) : 8.30pm
|January 2014||14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30 (10am)||3, 4 (Dark Sky) : 8.30pm
5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12 (Moonlit) : 8.30pm
17 (Full Moon) :8.30pm
24, 25, 26, 31 (Dark Sky) : 8.30pm
|February 2014||12, 13 (10am & 12.30pm)
19, 20 (10am & 12.30pm)
|1 (Dark Sky) : 8.00pm
6, 7, 8, 9 (Moonlit) : 8.00pm
15 (Full Moon) : 8.00pm
21, 22, 23, 28 (Dark Sky) : 8.00pm
|March 2014||12, 13 (10am & 12.30pm)
19, 20 (10am & 12.30pm)
|1, 2 (Dark Sky) : 7.30pm
6, 7, 8, 9 (Moonlit) : 7.30pm
21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 (Dark Sky) : 7.30pm
|April 2014||15, 17, 22, 24 (10am)||4, 5, 6, 7 (Moonlit) : 7.00pm
19, 20, 26, 27 (Dark Sky) : 7.00pm
|May 2014||12 (12.30pm)
13, 14, 15 (10am & 12.30pm)
|2 (Dark Sky) : 7.00pm
3, 4, 9, 10 (Moonlit) : 7.00pm
|June 2014||9 (12.30pm)
10, 11, 12 (10am & 12.30pm)
There are three types of star viewing sessions:
The moon is one of the observing targets. The best detail of the lunar surface is seen around half-moon phase. Star clusters and brighter nebulae will also be visible.
Dark Sky Nights
Dark sky night sessions are held when there is no moon. The fainter objects such as globular clusters and nebulae show up well against the darker background of a moonless sky.
Full Moon Nights
As an experiment this season, the Observatory will offer several special viewing sessions, scheduled when the Full Moon occurs on a weekend or in a school holiday period. Our natural satellite is the principal target in these sessions: it’s the 5th largest moon in the solar system, and the only place in space that earthlings have visited.
Guided day tours cater primarily for groups such as schools and service clubs. The minimum group size is 10 people. Occasionally, other visitors can be included with such a group.
During a day tour, participants will take an extensive tour of the Observatory grounds and installations, see modern and historic telescopes, and learn about the history of astronomy in Perth. A browse of the halls and display area will show superb astrophotographs and astronomical paintings, meteorites, and historic instruments. A pictorial history or celestial sky show in the lecture theatre is included in the tour.
At the conclusion, participants can browse the gift shop to purchase astronomy books, posters, planispheres, almanacs, puzzles and postcards.
The star viewing nights are very popular so please book ahead to avoid disappointment.
Bookings & Payment
Bookings can be made by phoning (08) 9293 8255 between 8.30am and 3.30pm, Monday to Friday.
The Observatory requires payment for bookings within five working days of the booking being made. Most people choose to pay by credit card (Visa or Mastercard) over the phone at the time of booking. We also accept payment by cheque, money order, or by cash or EFTPOS in person at the front office. We regret that we are unable to hold or reserve your booking if we do not receive payment within five working days of you making your booking.
Our star viewing nights are mainly outdoors, so please dress accordingly.
Star viewing nights proceed as scheduled, even if the sky is cloudy. In this event, an alternative program will run. Visitors who attend on such a night will be given the opportunity to attend another evening viewing at half price, and to come only if the sky is clear.
Disabled access is available to some areas of the Observatory only. The main administration building, housing the display room and lecture room, can be accessed by a wheelchair ramp at the rear of the building. In the visitors' observing area, a small telescope can be set up on a pantograph mount for visitors using wheelchairs. Please note: this setup is suitable for only one or two people at a time and upper-body mobility is needed.
Please tell staff about your special needs when you call to make your booking.
Smoking is prohibited in the Observatory grounds. Visitors are requred to take any litter with them as they leave (this is a requirement of the Department of Environment and Conservation).
To minimise inconvenience, especially on the evening sessions, please aim to arrive 15 minutes early.
The Observatory's prices incurred an increase on 1 July 2013:
|PRICE INCREASE - Effective 1 July 2013|
|TOURS||Day Tours||Night Tours|
|Whole Night Session Booking||$1344.00|
|Talks/Presentations (price per hour)||$120.00 per hour|
|Star Adoption Program||$300.00|