Designated Observatory Registry

Application Form

Last modified: 1 May 2007

The Astronomical Society of Australia has been asked by STANDARDS AUSTRALIA to compile a list of "designated" optical observatories that are valuable resources for (i) research, (ii) education and (iii) community use. The ASA is the final arbiter of whether any particular observatory is so designated.

The Australian Standard AS4282 on "The Control of the Obtrusive Effects of Outdoor Lighting" provides guidelines for planning authorities to ameliorate the effects of light pollution in the vicinity of optical observatories. We recommend that this standard and the guidelines should be drawn to the attention of local and state planning authorities. Good lighting practice benefits the whole community, not only astronomers.

Acceptance as a designated observatory does not imply any form of legal status, but it does recognise an observatory's contribution to the local or wider community and in our experience assists an observatory present a stronger case for protection against obtrusive lighting. The International DarkSky Association provides much information assisting this cause including strategies for dealing with councils and neighbours. Membership is highly recommended.

The credibility of this public list demands a strict standard. We list below essential criteria for a facility to be considered:

  • A permanent 'observatory' structure housing the telescope(s)
  • A clear strength in one or more of the three areas:
    • research - astronomical data is regularly submitted to (and accepted by) an internationally recognised astronomical organisation or journal
    • education - a well-defined and continuing educational program (not just occasional school visits)
    • community use - a well-defined and continuing program program of access to the local community and/or tourists (preferably advertised; not just occasional visitors)
  • A supporting statement from a 'seconder' for the Application:
    • For small private observatories, an officer from a recognised astronomical society testifying to the usefulness of the research program being undertaken and/or the community benefits of any educational activities.
    • For school and college observatories, a senior officer of the administration.

    Upon receipt of your application form, your observatory will be entered on a list of "Pending Designated Observatories" on the ASA Home Page. Formal acceptances are approved three times a year at ASA Council Meetings. Status as a designated observatory will be reviewed every 2 years based on calendar year annual reports submitted in January.

    Please fill out the application form below and submit it. It will be emailed for you. A Text version is available if your browser doesn't handle forms.

    Under Instruments and Facilities, list not only the telescopes but also any freestanding buildings that house them, such as a dome or shed with sliding roof etc.

    If you have any questions contact Mike Bessell at:

    phone: 02 6125 0268
    fax: 02 6125 0233

    Application for Designated Observatory Status


     Observatory Details

    Name of Observatory

    Educational Institution Amateur Society Private


    Principal activity
    Research Education Tourism Daytime Nightime


    Observatory Coordinates (if known)

    South East Height

    Instruments and Facilities

    Postal Address

    Contact Person


    Web Address

    Phone Number



    Statements from Proposer and Seconder

    Seconder should best be from local astronomical society, educational institution, etc.


    Email or phone

    Supporting statement


    Email or phone

    Supporting statement


    Details of Proposed Activities


    Nights Days Average Group size


    Nights Days Average Group size


    Nights Days Average Group size

    Estimated number of annual guests


    Other Comments


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    If you do not have good coordinates for your observatory and it is not within a city or town limits with a street and/or block number, please fax or mail a map showing the location.

    Maintainer: Mike Bessell, email:

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