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Lake Boga Observatory

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by Here and There (subscribe)
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Published April 29th 2014
Get lost in space
You've no doubt noticed that at night in country areas you can see a huge and glittering panorama of stars not usually visible to those of us who live in the ambient light of big cities.

The Lake Boga Observatory is situated on the Murray Valley Highway around 17 kilometres south east of Swan Hill. It's well placed to make the most of the dark night skies and offers visitors a peek into the awesome mysteries of our galaxy and those beyond.

At the beginning of the evening, John, our very knowledgeable host, offered an easily understood briefing before we moved on to the telescopes. While the briefing was aimed at those who might have a limited knowledge of astronomy, he was easily able to answer the more in depth questions posed by the one member of our party who was fairly well versed in the subject.

As someone who knows very little about astronomy, I was very impressed with the evening we spent at the observatory. It's amazing how much you can see through a really good telescope. Some of the highlights were viewing the middle star in the handle of the saucepan which is actually the Orion Nebula, Saturn and its rings glowing like a shiny nutrigrain and one particularly enchanting nebula resemblant of a cloud of grey velvet cushions studded with emerald stars.

space stars planet galaxy universe
Image courtesy of Smarnad/

The telescopes are computer controlled so they find and track the stars and then solemnly announce when each one is located. I can only imagine what early astronomers might have thought of such gadgetry - truly magic perhaps.

Bookings are required and it's a good idea to dress warmly as clear skies also normally mean chilly conditions.

If you're in the area it's a lovely and unusual way to spend an evening. There's also a glass studio at the observatory with works by our host and other Australian glass artists for sale.

Just the other side of the highway is the actual lake which boasts four boat launching ramps. The Lake Boga Caravan Park extends along some of the foreshore of the lake and looks like a good spot to camp. There's boating, fishing, water skiing, swimming and yachting on the lake and the area is fairly well known as a good place for birdwatching. The Flying Boat Museum is also definitely worth a visit.
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Why? Check out the starry, starry night
When: By appointment
Phone: 0400 123962
Where: 136 Murray Valley Highway, Lake Boga
Cost: Observatory tours $15 Adult, $10 Child (under 17)
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