Welcome to our website - you will find here a fair bit about us and our history, but if you are looking for the most up to date forum, news and pictures check out our facebook page at facebook.com/npobservatory
Now that we have a facebook page, this site will be maintained as an information resource for the kind of stuff that does not change very frequently, although we will try keep the basic astronomical data going on our 'This Month' page.
We have completed the installation of a 35 cm 'Celestron' Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope under a new dome. This project took 3 years from inception to completion; the first two years being largely taken up with fundraising. The project cost approximately $75.000, and we have more fundraising ahead of us as we look to restore the roof of the rest of the observatory. We need approximately $15,000 to go ahead andare actively seeking funding from a number of sources.
The Observatory, Marsland Hill, Robe Street, New Plymouth
Public Open nights are Tuesdays - 7.30 onwards in the Winter; 8.30 onwards in the Summer (during Daylight Saving time) Entry fee is $5 for adults and $3 for juniors. If the sky is clear, we observe planets, moons, stars and anything else in the night sky if cloudy we run presentations and discussions on aspects of astronomy and items in the news.
Group visits can be arranged for any other time. Click on 'Advice for group bookings' at the bottom of this page for more information.
If you have seen the observatory on Marsland Hill, you will note a large dome dominates the building, with a smaller one behind it. The large dome houses a large, working, historic refracting telescope, originally built in 1880 and permanently mounted inside. We also have modern reflecting telescopes,with pride of place going to our new 35cm 'Celestron' Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope on computerised mount under the small dome. This can be used for visual observing, CCTV presentations via our 60" TV screen, or (by members of the society) for long-period astro-photography. In this mode, it will reveal great detail in very faint objects barely visible when observing visually. We also have a number of telescopes we take outside on fine nights including a 25 cm Newtonian (mirror based) telescope and a 20cm wheelchair-accessible telescope. We have one or two telescopes available for loan.
In addition, a number of smaller telescopes is available for short-term loan to groups
We also operate a versatile computer projector for presentations of all sorts related to astronomy.
Who you might meet at Public night
Our current members include:
JohnCalcott - Director of the Observatory, has an excellent knowledge of the planets, and celestial objects of interest in the sky above New Plymouth.
Nick Gladstone- He's the contact if you are planning to make a group booking. firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 751 524.
Danielle Billing - Secretary of the Society and the youngest member of the committee.
And other members are often available to assist or answer questions.
We have been mentioned in Lonely Planet! See it Here This has had a very marked effect on the number of foreign visitors who have come up to the observatory to see the southern skies.
Puke Ariki Library-Museum also mention us in their History of Marsland Hill.
About the Society
The New Plymouth Astronomical Society has been practising astronomy for over 95 years. Along with some newer help our historic telescope has been serving us well for most of that time. Find out more about this telescope here
Contact us for more information