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 chat, check out our facebook page at facebook.com/npobservatory
Now (June 27th 2014) 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 keep the basic astronomical data going on our 'This Month' page.
We are currently looking for volunteers to help with our ever-increasing number of groups, especially school groups, visiting the observatory. We can train you in the basics of astronomy that we cover, if you don't already know it, and you can work alongside more experienced people for as long as you need to, before taking groups yourself. Anyone interested should contact Heather at Volunteering New Plymouth on 758 8986, Nick Gladstone on 021 751 524 or call in at the observatory on any Tuesday evening. We have 3 volunteers at present, Emily Adams, Kiana Burkett and Hannah Weatherall.
We are closing in on our proposed installation of a 35 cm Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope under a new dome at our Marsland Hill observatory. This project is well on course for completion by next winter, and when commissioned will be one of the most powerful public-access telescopes in New Zealand. We need approximately $72,000 to go ahead and $47,000 has been pledged so far. We are 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, 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
If you have seen the observatory on Marsland Hill, you will note a large dome dominates the building. This houses a large, working, historic refracting telescope, originally built in 1880, permanently mounted inside. We also have modern reflecting telescopes, including the 25 cm mirror based telescope frequently used for public nights.
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- Current president and 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.
The rest of the committee for 2014-5 are:
Brian and Steven Hicks
Our hardworking volunteers are Emily Adams, Kiana Burkett and Hannah Weatherall.
We have been mentioned in Lonely Planet! See it Here
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 90 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
To celebrate our approaching centennial year in 2019, we have decided to extend the power and range of our group of telescopes to include a 35 cm Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain reflecting telescope on a fully motorized mount suitable for long period astro-photography. This means completing the second dome, and the new telescope will help us show the public a wider range of astronomical objects, more accurately, and quickly, as well as allowing people to develop their skills in the expanding world of astro-photography. Please come along, or contact us below, if you would like to hear our plans and/or donate.
Contact us for more information