Sydney Observatory Aglow for its Festival of the Stars and Smart Light Sydney


Sydney Observatory Aglow lighting installation with designer Christopher Snape and colleague Greg, image Nick Lomb

Sydney Observatory is aglow each evening after dark during Smart Light Sydney. This event is a “celebration of innovation through light art, music and ideas events.” Its main feature is the smart light walk from the Opera House to Observatory Hill and Sydney Observatory. From 26 May 2009 to 14 June 2009 you can walk along the path and see 26 spectacular lighting installations. These feature low level sustainable LED lighting and show what can be achieved with minimal light pollution.


Sydney Observatory Aglow, image Nick Lomb

The best place to look at lighting installations is on Observatory Hill as it is is a relatively dark oasis in the City so that the light installations are not overwhelmed by over-bright ambient lighting. Lighting installations include Alex Haw’s weather projection that combines four projectors to create vivid weather images on the ceiling of the Rotunda just outside the north fence of Sydney Observatory, Andy Uprock’s the paradox between light and time that creates a magnificent pattern using only recyclable cups installed in the fence of the Signal Station adjacent to the Observatory and, of course, Christopher Snape’s magnificent Sydney Observatory Aglow.


Sydney Observatory Aglow, image Nick Lomb

You can see Sydney Observatory in a way that the building has not been seen in its 150 year plus history during the Festival of the Stars on the evenings of Friday 29 May 2009 and Saturday 30 May 2009. Details here.


Sydney Observatory Aglow, image Nick Lomb

The show has been installed and designed by lighting designer Christopher Snape whose company is Sound Light’n’Efex that recently designed ‘Further, faster, higher’, a visually spectacular work on a grand scale which you can see daily inside the Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo.


Sydney Observatory Aglow, image Nick Lomb

Using programmable low wattage LED lights the Observatory’s south facade is “aglow” with a blaze of colours each evening. The colours and patterns change every few seconds and the show continues for about 14 minutes until it starts to repeat. Most of the lights are placed close to the building so that any waste light is blocked by projecting cornices and other features of the building. The predominant colours are warmer colours as these do not destroy the eye’s adaptation to low light levels and are not associated with health risks of night time exposure to cooler colours.

Come and enjoy the show either at the Festival of the Stars or any evening until 14 June 2009!

One response to “Sydney Observatory Aglow for its Festival of the Stars and Smart Light Sydney

  • Hi- Sydney Observatory Aglow is running again as of this evening, Sunday 31 May, through to 14 June.

    Last night, Saturday 30 may, the instalaliton was not active due to the torrential rain during the day causing a circuit fault. If you missed out please come back – the grounds are open every evening until 10pm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sydney Observatory Day Tours

Weekends and school holidays, 10.15am–4.15pm

Look through our solar telescope to see the Sun, bright stars, the Moon or Venus during the day!