John Shobbrook

FTS Site Manager

In the mid-1980’s John, then a law-enforcement officer and an amateur astronomer, devised the ‘Sirius’ observatory dome. More than five hundred Sirius Observatories have since been sold world-wide. In 1994 he designed and set up two optical observatories, and one radio telescope observatory for Grace Lutheran College, in Brisbane, Australia. Whilst working as the Observatory Manager at Grace College he made the first southern to northern hemisphere robotic telescope link to the NASA/JPL sponsored ‘Telescopes In Education’ organisation. In 1995 he left Grace College and moved to Coonabarabran, New South Wales, where he became the first manager of the ‘Skywatch’ public observatory. Later that year he commenced observational duties at Siding Spring Observatory - Australia’s major astronomical research facility. In February 1995, using the Australian National University’s 40-inch telescope, he shared in the co-discovery of Supernova 1995G for which he received a Nova Award from the American Association of Variable Star Observers. In 1997 John was the driving force behind establishing Coonabarabran as ‘Astronomy Capital of Australia’. He continued observational duties for the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales at Siding Spring Observatory until August 1998 when he took up an appointment in the United States as a Planetarium Director for a major Los Angeles County school district. Returning to Australia by 2001 John commenced observational duties with the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial and Research Organisation’s 22-metre Mopra Radio Telescope. In November 2001, he established a NASA-funded remotely controlled telescope on his 120-acre property in Coonabarabran for Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, USA. In 2007 he established a second remotely controlled observatory on his property for an Indiana-based American college. In 2007, upon receipt of a $415,000.00 grant from the Australian Government, John supervised the construction of his ‘World’s Largest Virtual Solar System Drive’ concept. Additionally John has worked as an astronomy tutor with the Western College of Adult Education. He has been elected a Member of the Astronomical Society of Australia and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Initially serving as Telescope Technology Limited’s Project Manager at the Faulkes Telescope South since 2005, John is now proud to represent the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network in Australia as their Observatory Manager.

John's picture
John no longer works at LCOGT.