Wiruna (Aboriginal for "Sunset") is the ASNSW's premier dark sky observing site near Ilford, about three hours' drive north-west of Sydney, between Lithgow and Mudgee in the NSW Central Tablelands. Wiruna appears on the ASA list of Designated Observatories (https://asa.astronomy.org.au/membership/observatories/) as entry DO3-50: Wiruna Observatory - Astronomical Society of NSW (Ilford NSW). The designation was granted on 13 July 2019 by letter.
Situated on 107 acres (43 hectares) of land owned by the ASNSW, Wiruna provides members with a superb dark sky observing site with several observing areas:
- The Main Observing field is the field used by most members to set up their telescopes or observe with the Society's telescopes. The Main Observing Field is sheltered from stray light by screen trees. The Wiruna Light Use Policy applies when observing on the Main Observing Field.
- Imaging Alley is an area for combined observing and astroimaging, where some light spill is allowed.
- The Western Observing field has a small cleared observing area adjacent to the Lodge at the rear of the property. If you need to use a bit of white light or a bright torch, it is safe to do so in this area.
"Among the eucalyptus woodlands in New South Wales, Australia, there is 100 acres of land designated for stargazing. Owned by a local astronomy society, the land has both observation facilities and basic accommodations, though most prefer to camp. Each year, the society hosts a "South Pacific Star Party," during which [up to 300] people convene for a weekend of star watching beneath one of the world's darkest skies." - Forbes.com, 18 June 2008
Members may camp or choose to book Bunkrooms or the Lodge on scheduled observing weekends. Members can find more information about Wiruna here: Zone Extras, or All about Wiruna (Information for Members) (login required).
Visitors with a bona fide interest in astronomy may camp, but must plan well in advance. Contact us for more information - please include some information about yourself and your interest in astronomy, as well as your availability for forthcoming new Moon weekends.
The photo on this page was taken by Greg Priestley at the 2013 South Pacific Star Party, held at Wiruna.