Australia's Mount Stromlo Observatory located near the nation's capital Canberra has been destroyed by devastating bushfires that have ravaged the city for the past five days.
"We are thankful that no staff or students were injured in the Mount Stromlo fire." ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Chubb said today.
The Observatory, operated by the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, is one of Australia's leading centres of Astronomical research. The fires destroyed four telescopes, the equipment workshop, eight houses which had been occupied by staff and an administration building.
Preliminary estimates have valued the losses at more than $20 million.
Two office buildings and the visitors centre were spared -- importantly, preserving most of the computer data generated on site in recent years.
Professor Chubb emphasised that the work of the Research School would continue.
"The loss of Mount Stromlo is a devastating blow to Australian research and in particular to the 60 staff and 20 students who made it their workplace.
"To those staff who also lost homes on Mount Stromlo, these fires have delivered a double blow.
"It is vital to emphasise that the work of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics will continue, however.
The University has adequate workshop and laboratory facilities to accommodate the valuable equipment contracts which are being fulfilled by the school -- including the $6.3 million contract to build a sharp-eyed imager for the Gemini South Telescope in Chile.
"Other research projects have been undeniably set back by this loss, although we are still evaluating the full extent of the damage.
"Plans are already being put in place to rebuild at Mount Stromlo and restore the Research School to its full capacity.
"The fires have been a devastating blow to Canberra and the ANU is committed to helping rebuild the lives of those affected."
The Director of the Research School, Professor Penny Sackett, said, "Our losses are presently overwhelming and the scene of Mount Stromlo is one of devastation, but we have retained our most valuable asset, our staff, 100 per cent intact and we are extremely grateful for their safety."
"We have also saved our computer database and many of us will be back at work tomorrow."
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express
100th Extra-Solar Planet Gives Clues To Origins Of Planets
Swindon - Sep 19, 2002
British astronomers, together with Australian and American colleagues, have used the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope [AAT] in New South Wales, Australia to discover a new planet outside our Solar System -- the 100th to be detected.
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|