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Mount Burnett Observatory

A community astronomical observatory in the Dandenong Ranges

  • Dome and scope
    Dome and 18" Telescope
  • Dome at night
    Dome at Night
  • Dome and LMC
    Dome at Night with LMC
  • Prep for AGM
    Dome and 10" Telescope
  • Prof S Maddison 2014
    Prof. Sarah Maddison (Swinburne)
  • Ronald Fritz dome and sky
    Dome and Milky Way by Ronald Fritz
  • mbo open day 1
    MBO Open Day 2014
  • 2014 BBQ
    Open Day BBQ 2014
  • BBQ
    Open Day BBQ 2015
  • MWA at Scienceworks
    MWA tile at Scienceworks
  • MWA press Scienceworks
    Press meets MWA tile
  • MWA Classic FM Scienceworks
    MWA tile plays ABC Classic FM



Book review: "The Georgian Star" by Michael D. Lemonick

MBO has an extensive library which is available to members and one member, Martin Mebalds, has kindly taken the time to review a title that he has been reading.

The Georgian Star by Michael D. Lemonick - review by Martin Mebalds - shelved under Astronomy History

This book is not about the discovery of Uranus by William Herschel, although the book does cover the discovery.  It’s not about Caroline Herschel, William’s sister who surpassed Charles Messier by many thousands in discovering and cataloguing nebulae, although that is also covered.

The book is about the beginnings of modern techniques in the study of astronomy. While cataloguing stars sand double stars, it’s about a musician who turned to astronomy in his thirties, and though untrained in astronomy, with original thinking made his mark.  He not only swept the skies cataloguing stars with his own telescopes, he built them and they were the best made anywhere at the time.  The story is also about team work and women in science at the time, how they were treated and how Caroline defied the odds and made her own significant contributions to astronomy. She was the one that documented all William’s 8,760 observations and calculated all of their coordinates.  This was the start of the star catalogues astronomers rely on today.

The book is also about the progress of science in general, the progress in thinking and the many stumbles along the way.  For example, William Herschel believed that most planets and the moon were inhabited because ‘why would god go to all that trouble if it weren’t populated?’

This book is a treat to read, it’s full of surprises and insights about the progress of science and the early beginnings of cosmology.  I have only given a small sample of the discoveries made by these two wonderful 18th century astronomers. Less than 200 pages, it is suitable for any astronomy enthusiast from teens to nonagenarians and beyond!


MBO "Seeing Stars" Astrophotography Exhibition at Yarra Ranges Regional Museum

The exhibition Seeing Stars: Astrophotography from the Dandenong Ranges is now being presented in the Chambers Gallery of the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum from 29 October 2016 – 29 January 2017. The exhibition coincides with another exhibition on display at the Museum at the same time called Science on the Move from Questacon in Canberra.

The Yarra Ranges Regional Museum is at 35-37 Castella St, Lilydale, and is open 7 days a week from 10am through to 4pm and entry is free.


Crowdfunding the new MBO Dome & Telescope

The Mount Burnett Observatory is fundraising for a new dome and telescope, and as part of that we are running a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe!  Please do try and help us out.


Mount Burnett Astronomical Society wants to install a Sirius 3.5 dome and telescope.

With the success of the observatory we are finding that our facilities are no longer capable of matching public demand. The original 18 inch telescope which was installed in the 1970’s was never designed for large numbers of the viewing public. It is accessed by a narrow, steep stair which restricts people with mobility issues. There is no wheelchair access. The telescope itself was not designed to be used as a viewing telescope, and to actually look through the lens can involve perching precariously at the top of a ladder. Use of the telescope is limited by the nature of the design of the scope and a lack of computerisation. A new Go-To telescope will allow the citizen scientists of Mount Burnett and our partner schools to once more do research on the mountain.


The Sirius 3.5 dome is a ground-floor-access, computerised dome that would improve our ability to meet public demand, provide greater accessibility and develop our astrophotography capability. The Go-To telescope will be suitable for advanced viewing projects.


Public Viewings at MBO

Hey Astrofans!

Are you looking for an Astronomy Fix, or perhaps an idea for a special present for someone astro-minded? Look no further!

We have the following upcoming public viewings scheduled for 2016; due to high demand these are now booked via Eventbrite so please click on the link to book a place!

Public Viewings are designed for members of the Public who would like to visit the Observatory to see what we do, who we are, and, with the help of our friendly Outreach team, do some viewing of the night sky through our telescopes.

Public Viewings cost $15 per adult, $10 concession and $5 per child (12 years and under). All money raised goes towards maintenance and preservation of the Observatory.

Please note, if the weather is not good or if the fire danger forecast is severe or above, the sessions will be cancelled and you will be able to rebook for a later date. If you have any further questions, just ask by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

Please consider the neighbours and drive in and out quietly using low beam only, or better still, parking lights.

Please note: MBO will always be closed on days of Severe, Extreme and Code Red fire ratings, please see the CFA website for that information.

For weather information please see our useful links.



Welcome to Mount Burnett Observatory inc. We are an astronomical society based at Mount Burnett Observatory, in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne. The Observatory was originally built in 1972 by Monash University. In 2011 the site was formally taken over by our organisation and it now has a new life as a community observatory. Our aim is to preserve the facility and to use it to promote astronomy and science to the communities in the Dandenongs.

The Observatory for members and guests every Friday from 7:30pm. Our Young Observers group meet on Saturday evenings once a month.


Visiting the Observatory

Visitors are most welcome at MBO. Individuals and families wanting to look through our telescopes can join in one of our Public Viewing Nights. These run approximately once a month subject to the weather. They are very popular and must be pre-booked. To enquire about the next available date or to book please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone the Mount Burnett Observatory hotline on 0490 665 004.

Costs are:

Adults: $15

Concession: $10

Children 12 years and under: $5

Mount Burnett also welcomes visits by schools, scouting and community groups. We have a program that can caters for all ages (from Joeys and primary school children to Venturers and VCE students). Sessions take advantage of our portable telescopes for an "eyes-on" view of the sky as well as a host of indoor activities. Programs are tailored to VELS and badges according to group.

The observatory is also available for private booking.

To enquire about a visit please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone the Mount Burnett Observatory hotline on 0490 665 004.