Reach For The Sky - Sydney Observatory c1858, Observatory Hill, Sydney - The HDR Experience

Philip Johnson

Newport Beach, Australia

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An early observatory was established in 1788 on Dawes Point, at the foot of Observatory Hill, in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to observe in 1790 the return of a comet suggested by Edmond Halley of Halley’s Comet fame. The Colony’s second observatory was established at Parramatta in 1821 by Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane.

In 1848, a new signal station was built by the Colonial Architect, Mortimer Lewis, on top of the fort wall on Windmill Hill. At the instigation of the Governor, Sir William Denison, it was agreed seven years later to build a full observatory next to the signal station. The first Government Astronomer, William Scott, was appointed in 1856, and work on the new observatory was completed in 1858.

The most important role of the observatory was to provide time through the time-ball tower. Every day at exactly 1.00 pm, the time ball on top of the tower would drop to signal the correct time to the city and harbour below. At the same time a cannon on Dawes Point was fired, later the cannon was moved to Fort Denison. The first time ball was dropped at noon on 5 June 1858. Soon after the drop was rescheduled to one o’clock. The time ball is still dropped daily at 1pm using the original mechanism, but with the aid of an electric motor, not as in the early days when the ball was raised manually.

The observatory is a sandstone building in the Italianate style. There are two telescope domes on octagonal bases and a four story tower for the time ball. The 1858 building designed by the Colonial Architect, Alexander Dawson, comprised a dome to house the equatorial telescope, a room with long, narrow windows for the transit telescope, an office for calculations, and a residence for the astronomer. A western wing was added in 1877 with office and library space and a second dome for another telescope

Source Wikipedia:
Sydney Observatory is now a museum

Technique: HDR 15 Brackeeted exposures,tonemapped in photomatix and merged in Photoshop Elements 9.0

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Artwork Comments

  • Rosalie Dale
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  • Charmiene Maxwell-Batten
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