Crago Observatory is the ASNSW's "local" dark sky observing site at Bowen Mountain, near North Richmond, about an hour's drive North-West of Sydney. Set on 4 acres (1.6 hectares) of Crown Land surrounded by National Park, Crago Observatory provides ASNSW members with a surprisingly dark sky observing site, only a short distance from Sydney and at a location easily accessible to most members.
Crago Observatory appears on the ASA list of Designated Observatories (https://asa.astronomy.org.au/membership/observatories/) as entry DO3-41: Crago Observatory - (Astronomical Society of NSW, Bowen Mountain NSW) [renewed March 2018].
This panorama image was taken by Peter Stuart.
Crago Observatory consists of a large rotating dome and, from mid 2022, will house a 22" telescope, fitted with Argo Navis and ServoCAT. The observatory has a wide range of eyepieces and star charts available for use with the telescope. The grounds surrounding the observatory offer a large cleared area with ample space for members and visitors to set up their own telescopes.
No public or member observing nights are currently available.
Visitors are welcome when the Observatory is fully functional and there are no COVID restrictions. There is no charge, but a gold coin donation is appreciated. Sky tours using the observatory telescope start around 1 hour after sunset (Sunset times for Sydney) and usually continue until midnight or later. We show visitors any visible planets as well as many deep-sky objects such as galaxies, nebulae and star clusters. When you arrive, park in the cul-de-sac at the end of Lieutenant Bowen Drive. Walk past the gate at the entrance to the fire trail and the observatory is located about 100m down the dirt road.
First-time visitors are advised to arrive before dark.
Observing is always weather dependent. Check if the Observatory is operational, or if observing will be going ahead, on our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/CragoObs/after 4pm on the relevant date.
Crago Observatory Site Information
How to Get There: off Lieutenant Bowen Drive, Bowen Mountain
Crago Observatory is at Bowen Mountain. At the traffic lights at North Richmond, turn up Grose Vale Rd. After 8.4km, turn LEFT onto Bowen Mountain Rd. After 2.1km, following the curve to the RIGHT puts you on Wattle St. Then go RIGHT at Bellbird Cr and RIGHT again onto Lt Bowen Rd. Continue to the end and look for parking on the street. Total distance is 12km from North Richmond. Enter the Burralow Fire Trail by stepping through the gate, which is usually locked. Bring a red torch with you (or white torch covered with red cellophane) to find your way 100m along the fire trail to the observatory (a one-minute walk). If coming for the first time, it is much easier to find if you arrive before dark. A map is shown below.