I got there at 9.45 and the queue for tours through the scope was already 2 hours long. I passed, not terribly disappointed because I went on tours the last open day. So I wandered around the grounds and looked at stuff. The local astronomical society had a bunch of optical telescopes set up to track the moon, Venus, Mercury and the Sun. One of the fellows had a special H-alpha filter aimed at the sun. Most people looked through the little telescope and said "Wow, the sun's real red." I watched the scope owner wince. I had a look through and was astonished. I could see prominences! Four of them, and one was rather large.
I said something like "There's a large prominence at 10 o'clock!" The scope owner beamed, and the other amateur astronomers looked twitchy. They were all desperate to have a look and had to wait for the unwashed masses to finish looking at the Wow It's Really Red sun.
The only disappointment was that the Cafe pie shop couldn't keep up with demand and sold out of their pies. I had to settle for a factory-made Mrs Mac's Home Made Pies ("It's the woman's touch.")
Big scopes and little
A tour party walk under the 450 ton counterweight
The original control panel
It's still in a sheep paddock.