Astronomy at Arkaroola

Waxing Crescent Moon over Arkaroola

Waxing Crescent Moon over Arkaroola
Photo courtesy E&C Lenc

Arkaroola's Astronomical Observatories: 


We are very fortunate indeed to have three fully equipped astronomical observatories, each located well above the Village area, to ensure your maximum night-skies viewing experience.  In addition to conducting Advanced Ecotourism accredited Astronomy Tours, each of our observatories are available to professional and amateur astronomers, or to visiting astronomical societies and clubs.  Please contact for further details.


Arkaroola Dodwell Observatory and Orion

Dodwell Observatory with Orion in Night Sky
Photo Courtesy E&C Lenc

Dodwell Observatory

Our original domed observatory, with adjacent briefing/store room, was built in 1986 and is fully equipped with a wide range of professional equipment - including a Celestron 14-inch (360mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain (SC) astronomical telescope.

The Dodwell Observatory is named in honour of George Frederick Dodwell (1879 - 1963), the Government Astronomer of South Australia from 1909 - 1952.


Sir Marc Oliphant Observatory

Sir Mark Oliphant Observatory

Sir Mark Oliphant Observatory

A 3.5 metre diameter fibreglass observatory dome (made by Sirius in Australia), is similarly equipped with a first-class computer-assisted 14-inch (360mm) Celestron SC telescope and other equipment;  this observatory was constructed, and officially opened, in 2003. 

Arkaroola was proud to name this observatory in honour of Sir Marcus [Mark] Laurence Elwin Oliphant (1901 - 2000), a famous South Australian Physicist, and Governor of South Australia from 1971 - 1976;  Sir Mark was a long-time friend of the Sprigg Family.

Sprigg Observatory

Reginald Sprigg Observatory


Reginald Sprigg Observatory

Of roll-off-roof design, this observatory was also constructed in 2003, and was added for visitors and guests to use with either our equipment or 'BYO' equipment.  Our three Star Chairs, and three 5-inch (125mm) Meade ETX-125, computer-controlled Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes, as well as spare piers and wedges for 'BYO' telescopes, are contained within this observatory. 

This observatory is named in honour of Reginald Claude Sprigg (1919 - 1994), Geologist and founder of Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.

Please note that our Star Chairs are currently not available due to technical reasons.

Our professional quality astronomical equipment includes:



Astronomical Seeing Conditions:


Arkaroola boasts some of the best astronomical seeing conditions in the Southern Hemisphere - our night skies are free of atmospheric and light pollution to provide you with a truly unforgettable experience (the nearest township of any size is Leigh Creek, 135 km to the west). 

For those of you with a technical mind, the seeing conditions at Mt. Searle (only 47 km to the south-west) were measured in 1965 by the Australian National University (ANU) and reported as being a mean of 0.45 arc-seconds, with seeing better than 0.35 arc-seconds on 36% of nights.  Our night skies are truly spectacular! 

Come to Arkaroola and put a real sparkle into your astronomical viewing!

Photo of Orion Nebula taken at Arkaroola by Mark Wielgosz


 Dark Skies Policy: 

Arkaroola is South Australia's first wilderness sanctuary to adopt a Dark Skies Policy, thus ensuring our night skies remain unpolluted by local bright white light for years to come.

Need More Convincing?

The graph below has been copied from our climate stats page to give you an idea of our cloud-free days compared to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.  Visit that page to see details about temperature, humidty and other weather related information.

Mean Number of Clear Days Chart 

Arkaroola Star Chart and Sky Watch - June 2011

Joe Grida of the Astronomical Society of South Australia (ASSA) kindly provides a monthly Star Chart and Information sheet, Sky Watch, especially designed for Arkaroola.  The monthly Star Chart and Skywatch can be downloaded by clicking here (450KB).


If you'd like more information about Sky Watch, please contact Joe Grida at