Off the top of my dome
Stars, planets and other celestial bodies will soon be visible from Palmerston North once more.
The city’s observatory at the top of the Anzac Park lookout has been given a new dome after the previous one was letting water in, damaging equipment.
Palmerston North Astronomical Society president Ian Cooper said the problem had plagued them for years.
The previous dome was 46 years old and let leaks in when it rained.
Cooper said they managed to find a replacement in a yard.
‘‘An opportunity arose to acquire a second-hand one sitting around that was not used for the project it was intended.’’
He was pleased with the new dome and hoped it could last as long as it predecessor.
‘‘She looks quite impressive. It is a new start.’’
A refurbishment was planned for the inside too.
Cooper hoped to have the observatory re-open in mid winter, when they would organise regular open nights for young and old to see the stars.
Saturn would be visible by mid-June.
‘‘The rings will be as wide open as we have ever seen it.’’
Cooper was able to capture the recent aurora australis on camera near Opiki.
The Southern Lights were not often visible from Manawatu, because it was so far north.
The aurora australis as seen from Opiki in the Manawatu.