Mt Kent Observatory is Queensland’s only professional astronomical research facility, and is located at a dark-sky site outside Toowoomba in southern Queensland, Australia (28S, 152E, altitude 682m). The astronomical research projects currently operating at Mt Kent are:
- MINERVA-Australis: This is a dedicated exoplanet observing facility. This is ground-based observational follow-up for the NASA space telescope Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite or TESS. Mt Kent observations thus contribute to the discovery and characterisation of nearby exoplanetary systems. The project uses an array of 0.7m aperture telescopes and a specialised spectrograph. This USQ-led project is supported by the Australian Research Council and a consortium of research-intensive universities in Australia and overseas.
- Shared Skies Partnership: USQ’s collaboration with the University of Louisville provides live remote-access observing using 0.5m and 0.7m aperture telescopes, and a wide-field camera. The Partnership is used for research, research training, education and outreach, and enables access to northern skies via Moore Observatory in Kentucky. The Partnership supports USQ’s front-line research into stellar magnetic activity, and an exoplanet survey called KELT-South whose exoplanet transit observations complement MINERVA-Australis research.
Mt Kent Observatory also has an asteroid named after it. Discovered in 1993, asteroid ‘11927 Mount Kent’ appears among the constellations of the ecliptic.
Learn more about USQ’s research in astrophysics.