What can I expect to see during my Outback Astronomy experience?
Your feet may be firmly planted on Earth but we'll set fire to your imagination and in no time at all, you'll be travelling off into space on your virtual galactic tour.
Tour narration is provided by a knowledgeable sky guide in real time. You'll have ear phones connected to your personal audio. You may opt not to use the audio system, but you may miss the commentary. You'll be in the great outdoors.
Outback Astronomy has a new location with structures and permanent facilities in place! So whilst the sky shows will be held outdoors, there will be an indoors area for warmth and drinks.
With your naked eyes you will soak up the vastness of the Outback skies. You will gain a sense of the scale of our home Galaxy. We will highlight amazing celestial objects using a bright light pointer. Using powerful binoculars if you wish, you can focus in on these spectacular objects, including nebulae, star clusters and other galaxies. In some sky shows we may use a telescope. Soon, telescopes will become a permanent feature of our sky shows.
All guests will have a chair for use at sky shows. We generally use a reclined camping lounge although you can request an upright "director's" chair. We ask that you don't move about in the dark!
Our standard naked eye sky shows last 60 minutes and telescope shows 90 minutes. There is a requirement to attend the viewing site 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of your sky show. It's also a good time to grab a tea or coffee, included in your sky show price. We try to encourage everyone to be on time as latecomers' car headlights can be distracting once we power down the lights.
NB Late arrivals will not be possible at our new location as the building entrance will be locked 10 minutes prior to the start of the scheduled sky show time.
Guests are invited to provide testimonials about their sky show experiences.
No matter what sky show theme or which evening you attend, the one thing in common that our guests seem to take away with them is a new sense of understanding, respect and awe for our position in the universe as well as the fragility and very special nature of human life in the cosmos.
Your Outback Astronomy hosts expect you may feel humbled by this special night sky experience.
Please tell us what you think here.
Where is the Outback Astronomy viewing site?
Outback Astronomy is located at 18817 Barrier Highway, Broken Hill
- Outback Astronomy is located just 5.5km from the city, on the Sydney road.
- It takes just 8 minutes to drive from the Broken Hill Post Office to Outback Astronomy.
- From the Broken Hill Post Office, proceed to drive out of the city along Argent Street in a north-easterly direction.
- It’s 2.5 km to the edge of the city. At this point, Argent St is known as the Barrier Highway, or A32.
- Continue driving along A32 for a further 5.5km. Outback Astronomy is on the right.
What if there is a full moon?
A full moon has a magnificent glow when seen in the big skies of outback Australia.
We will celebrate the moon and highlight its importance and showcase the moon’s dazzling companions.
Occasionally we feature the moon in special shows when viewing is appropriate.
These are scheduled as appropriate during the lunar cycle.
Please feel welcome to request a special moon viewing event for your group at any time that suits.Please call us on +61 427 055 225 or 0427 055 225 between 11am and 5pm (Central Time in Australia) for assistance or further information.
Check out our online shop for moon maps. Purchases can be collected at your sky show.
What if it is cloudy or stormy?
This is why we ask for your mobile phone contact number. You will be contacted by us with either a text or voice call in the event of changes to the program due to poor weather.
Our experience suggests that a cloudy day does not necessarily translate into a cloudy night! Unless weather radar maps show extensive, stubborn cloud cover, we find it best to assume the Sky Shows will proceed.
However, there are occasions when clouds hang about and don't clear off before the scheduled start time. Subject to discussion with all guests who booked and paid in advance, we can move the start time to a slightly later time, ensuring clouds have moved on. If you are unable to accommodate this change (for example a delay of an hour or so) you may elect to receive a full refund. At other times we extend the duration of the sky show to accommodate time lost due to passing bands of cloud. Though this is an unusual situation as in Broken Hill, it tends to be definitely clear or cloudy, rather than an unpredictable mix.
Flexibility during your stay in Broken Hill
If you are super excited to see the great outback sky, then stay in the city a few extra nights. Discuss your plans with us early as we may be able to recommend accommodation, best time of year to visit, and other helpful tips for your travel.
When you are here, you may be able to reschedule from one sky show to another, subject to availability. It's a good idea to let us know at the time of your booking if you have flexibility to attend sky shows on different evenings. There is a prompt for this information when you make an online booking.
Is the viewing site accessible after rain?
Mostly! Heavy rain during the day may cause us to cancel but this is a rare event in Broken Hill. It is likely to be dry most days and nights in Broken Hill.
I can’t get a babysitter. Can I bring the kids?
Older children generally will enjoy sky shows. You, as a knowing parent, are the best judge! However, sky shows are not suitable for children aged 5 years and younger.
What if I can’t be at the venue on time?
Please arrive at our venue 30 minutes before the sky show start time. Turning up early helps us to kit you up with your audio system. You can also browse around our new indoors area.
It is part of the terms and conditions of sale that you arrive at the venue early.
The front gates are locked 10 minutes before the scheduled start of the sky show. Regrettably, latecomers may miss out on their sky show.
If you become aware that you may be running late, please text or phone us as soon as possible. We can advise other persons attending the sky show that you are on your way! Text or phone us on 0427 055 225 no later than 30 minutes before the start of your sky show.
How accessible is the site?
It's just a 10 minute drive from most parts of Broken Hill. We also offer a transport service for guests, currently limited to small numbers but we can drive multiple trips! Talk to us if we need to source a mini-bus or larger coach for your group.
Our site can be accessed with walking aids and wheelchairs.
There are three steps at the front entrance to the building, and is easily accessed by a variety of walking aids.
Wheelchair access is easy, with prior notice. We have multiple access points and we can open the venue earlier to accommodate additional time for settling in.
Parking for guests is at the front of the building.
Please be patient with us as we try to improve access to the building. It was built in the 1930s for a very specific purpose - as a radio communications base. It could never have been anticipated that this venue would ever need to accommodate a variety of accessibility. We intend to make access easy and comfortable as we progress improvements in the future.
Can I get to a bathroom while I am there?
What should I wear?
The temperature may drop to 0 degrees Celsius from April to November in Broken Hill.
We host our shows outdoors under the brilliance of the vast outback skies. You must dress appropriately for cold conditions to maximise your enjoyment of the sky shows.
Wear several layers of clothing including thermal underclothes if you have them. You can always peel off layers if you are warm.
We suggest you wear:
- Full length trousers and shirt – warm or thick fabrics
- A combination of warm vest, jacket, wind jacket, overcoat
- Scarf, beanie, gloves
- Closed in shoes or boots with warm socks
On cold evenings we supply additional warm gear for outdoors.