Welcome to the WAS website

Wellington Astronomical Society is an incorporated society and registered charity for promoting astronomy in and around the Wellington region.

Upcoming Events

August Monthly Meeting

When: Wednesday 4th August at 7:30 pm
Where: SpacePlace / Carter Observatory. Will also be accessible via Zoom.

Details of this months meeting are here, on our Facebook page and in the news letter.

Note our meeting are open to everyone. You don’t need to be a member to attend.

WAS Astrophotography Group / Dark Sky Observing

When: Saturday 7th August from 7 pm.
Where: Star Field – John Whitby’s dark sky site in the southern Wairarapa

The evening will be a dark sky, three days after New Moon. As usual, there will be a tour of the Night Sky for beginners with a pointer before we get on the telescopes.

For more details about this event see here.

Sanctuary Stargazing – Matariki at Zealandia

When: Friday 20th August at 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Our July event was rained out.
Where:  ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary

Zealandia Picture

Zealandia has teamed up with the Wellington Astronomical Society to bring you a drop-in stargazing event as part of the Matariki ki Te Māra a Tāne/Matariki at Zealandia celebrations.

There will be a few short talks on Maramataka at the start of the night by expert Ockie Simmonds, then you will get a chance to look at the half-moon through the telescopes. We’ll have experts on site to help out and answer any questions.

There will be ‘cosy’ light refreshments provided.

Please note: It’s likely to be very cold, so please wear warm clothing. You’re welcome to bring blankets! We’ll have some seating available on the night but it’s mostly standing.

This event is weather dependent – postponement date for 18th July

New Zealand Dark Sky Handbook

Handbook Cover

The New Zealand Dark Sky Handbook, a new book by John Hearnshaw, Emeritus professor of astronomy at the University of Canterbury.

The New Zealand Dark Sky Handbook is a comprehensive manual for all those who are interested in the fast growing topic of dark skies protection and the abatement of artificial light at night.
The book is in eight chapters, covering the following topics:
Chapter 1: Why protect dark skies?
Chapter 2: Properties of light and good lighting practices
Chapter 3: Measuring light
Chapter 4: The eye and human vision
Chapter 5: Lighting ordinances and dark sky organizations
Chapter 6: Dark sky places in New Zealand
Chapter 7: Island dark sky places in the world
Chapter 8: Astro-tourism and stargazing

The NZ Dark Sky Handbook is richly illustrated, with many figures in full colour, numerous tables of useful information, and explanations of complex topics in light measurement, physics, astronomy and lighting technology.

This is a highly multi-disciplinary subject. It calls on physics, astronomy, photometry, lighting technology, aesthetics, tourism, legal matters, human physiology, endocrinology, ecology, astrophotography, public outreach, geography, education and economics.

The NZ Dark Sky Handbook fills 228 A4 pages. It is self-published by the author. To obtain a copy, the purchase price is $28 (NZD) plus the costs of postage and packaging, if required ($8.60 for mailing within NZ, more for overseas). To order a copy, please email [email protected] or [email protected]. Payment may be made by direct credit to the author’s bank account. Email the author for account details.

The NZ Dark Sky Handbook is available from late June 2021.
ISBN 978-0-473-57462-8

Call for Volunteers

With the COVID-19 alert in phase 1, WAS resume our astronomy outreach activities. We have a number of these events already scheduled over the next month or so and we are expecting more requests to come in. We have a team of volunteers who help with these events but because these events are very popular we are receiving more requests than usual and our volunteers are being stretched. In particularly we are receiving many requests from schools around Matariki.

These outreach events are very popular and attract lots of appreciative comments and oooooohs and aaaaaahs. Occasionally the appreciation even extends to a cup of tea and a biscuit. For a typical event we take 2 or 3 telescopes and let people look at the moon, planets etc. Volunteers require no particular astronomy knowledge or experience with using telescopes. In fact if you wish to learn how to use a telescope this would be an ideal opportunity as you will be working alongside experienced and knowledgeable people. In addition full training of 2 to 10 minutes may be provided before we let the hordes loose. The only equipment you will need to bring is warm jacket and, recommended but optional, a thick pair of socks.

If you can help our team of volunteers at one or more of these events please let us know by emailing [email protected] or [email protected].

If you have any suggestions for things you would like to see on our website then please email the webmaster or fill out the “Contact Us” form.

Our Facebook page is at this link.

WAS Meeting Location