A chance to see the stars
Children, parents and local residents will be counting their lucky stars next month.
With the help of a telescope, they can search the skies for free at One Tree Hill’s Stardome Observatory as part of a 100-hour event.
From April 2 at 8am, the observatory will be open round the clock for solar and night-time viewing until noon on April 6.
Hasari Sapumohotti from Auckland Normal Intermediate has visited the observatory with a group of students.
The 12-year-old says it was fun. “We were there for the whole day and learnt a lot about the orbits of the moon and the sun.”
Hundreds of observatories around the world will be hosting the 100-hour event to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy.
Stardome marketing assistant Barbara Leyland says five telescopes will be available for use.
More than a million people have visited the observatory since it opened 42 years ago.
“Almost 50 percent of our visitors are school children.
“One piece of advice that I would give to the public is not to try to view the sun without a particular filter on the telescope because it can damage the eyes.”
David Britten, an educator at the Stardome, says the large Zeiss telescope, originally from East Germany, was installed in 1967.
Auckland Astronomical Society president Grant Christie says the Year of Astronomy is a worldwide event and they hope to get as many people as possible looking through telescopes.
“The moon will be wellplaced and Saturn will be visible in the early evening sky. The sun has been fairly quiet, it is not covered in sunspots which is what we like to see.”
Saturn should be visible from 10pm, rising in the eastern sky.
“The night sky is often seen as magical. Understanding that there is a rhyme and reason to it all can spark a lasting interest in the science of astronomy. It could be a great gift from parents to children to share an experience like this,” Mr Christie says.
The International Year of Astronomy celebrates the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei.