Mt John University Observatory. Tekapo. New Zealand.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Punga and Paua
S 43° 59.100 E 170° 27.835
59G E 457009 N 5129653
Quick Description: Mt John Observatory is a high-tech research observatory, founded in 1965 as a joint project between the universities of Pennsylvania and Canterbury. It is at Lake Tekapo, in the centre of New Zealand’s South Island.
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Date Posted: 7/12/2009 8:10:55 PM
Waymark Code: WM6RBA
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Jake39
Views: 12

Long Description:

Due to its geographic location light pollution is at a minimum in this part of New Zealand's South Island and on clear nights the skies of the southern hemisphere are truly awesome. It is not by chance that the Maoris named it Tekapo, which roughly translated means “place to sleep under the stars”.

Mount John University Observatory, New Zealand's premier astronomical observatory, is situated at 1,031 meters atop Mount John at the northern end of the Mackenzie Basin. There are four telescopes on site: two 0.6m, one 1.0m, and a new 1.8m 'MOA Telescope'.

Stargazing tours are run from the village (weather permitting of course). Astronomers from the university use laser pointers to show various constellations and astronomical features, explaining what they are, their age and size and where they are in relation to the rest of the universe. This humbling experience unfolds in absolute darkness as a complete light-ban is in effect around the observatory. This ban includes all light sources such as car headlights, torches and mobile phones. The hair-raising drive from the village up (and down) winding roads to the observatory is in complete darkness save for a few tiny dots in the road to guide the driver. There is no public access during “observatory” hours. Visitors also get the opportunity to view distant planets and galaxies using one of the observatories powerful telescopes.

Further information regarding tours of the Observatory is available at Earth and Sky Observatory Tours

Observatory Purpose: Research

Optical / Infrared Telescopes?: Yes

Radio Telescopes?: No

Open to the Public?: Yes

Public Viewing Allowed?: Yes

Active Observatory?: Active

Number of Telescopes or Antennas: 3 to 5

Site URL: [Web Link]

Year Dedicated or Opened: 1965

Altitude (meters): 1031

Solar Telescopes?: Not listed

Is this a Club Observatory?: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Note the time of day of your visit, and your own photo of your favorite part of the observatory. This might be the view from the observatory, picture of your favorite building or favorite exhibit. (Be mindful of flash photography rules!)

If you participated in an observing session, let everyone know what you saw!

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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
lison55 visited Mt John University Observatory. Tekapo. New Zealand. 4/5/2013 lison55 visited it
Dunbar Loop visited Mt John University Observatory. Tekapo. New Zealand. 4/6/2010 Dunbar Loop visited it
SamWalkers visited Mt John University Observatory. Tekapo. New Zealand. 8/2/2009 SamWalkers visited it
Punga and Paua visited Mt John University Observatory. Tekapo. New Zealand. 7/19/2009 Punga and Paua visited it

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