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Australian observatory survives wildfire

Published on Jan 14, 2013 8:40 AM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Telescopes at a global space research facility appear to have survived a devastating Australian inferno that destroyed 12 nearby homes and damaged several buildings on the site, officials said on Monday.

The fire, which raged through the night fuelled by hot, strong winds, damaged parts of the Siding Spring Observatory, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said.

But it said aerial surveillance had established that the main Anglo-Australian Telescope "has survived, although it is not known if it has been damaged".

Eighteen staff working at the facility, which houses 10 operating telescopes run by Australian, Polish, British, South Korean and American researchers, were safely evacuated before the fire struck.

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