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

Mercury Rising Expert Speaking Tour – Wellington
Thursday 7th November, 6 – 8pm onwards, Lion Harbourview Lounge, Michael Fowler Centre.

On 9 November, 1769, Captain James Cook and astronomer Charles Green observed the transit of Mercury across the Sun from Te Whanganui o Hei (Mercury Bay). Cook’s landing in Aotearoa remains surrounded in controversy and sorrow for many iwi. The Mercury Rising project provides a platform for the deep astronomical knowledge of Māori alongside the modern understanding of astrophysics, all within the context of Mercury’s transit as viewed from New Zealand’s shores.

Otago Museum, with Tuia 250 and the Mercury Bay Museum, will bring people together for this transit, to wonder at the solar system, and to share from each other’s astronomical expertise.

Join us for the Wellington leg of our expert speaker talks, happening in the Lion Harbourview Lounge, and hear from a variety of astronomers. Following the talks, learn how to use a telescope on the waterfront with the Wellington Astronomical Society.

A seminar by astronaut and Victoria University of Wellington 2019 distinguished alumni award recipient Alexander Gerst. 12 Nov 2019 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm Memorial Theatre, Student Union Building, Gate 3, Kelburn Parade.
Come and hear from astronaut and Victoria University of Wellington 2019 distinguished alumni award recipient Dr Alexander Gerst.  Further details and booking here.

Working Bee – Gifford Observatory
Sunday 17th November.  Come along and help with getting out new observatory working.  Jobs for everyone.  Contact Andrew Fuller [email protected] or Duncan Hall [email protected] for further details.

WAS Astrophotography group / Dark Sky Observing
Saturday 23rd November, 7pm onwards, Star Field – John Whitby’s dark sky site. Come along to this Astrophotography / Deep Sky event at a dark sky site in the Wairarapa. With no Moon, you will see some amazing dark skies with the Milky Way standing out.

As this is a private property, you will need to register if you want to come along by contacting us through Facebook Messenger or by emailing [email protected]. Include your email and mobile phone in the text if you are using Facebook Messenger. Directions to the site and any updates will be emailed out. Preference will be given to members of the Society first. (To join the Society see https://www.was.org.nz/join-us/).

Please contact Chris (021 890 222) or Antony (021 253 4979) for further details or cancellations. Updates will be available by the afternoon on the day of the event if the weather forecast is not looking good. This site is made available free to members of the Wellington Astronomical Society through the generosity of John Whitby from Star Field Limited https://www.starfield.nz/. Please support John by promoting his site to others.

NZ Astrophotography Weekend
Friday 29th November – Sunday 1st December – Foxton Beach Bible Camp, Foxton Beach, Horowhenua

The seventh New Zealand Astrophotography Weekend hosted by the Horowhenua Astronomical Society. This event is open to all who are interested in astrophotography.

All sorts of astrophotography can be undertaken – deep-sky/solar-system/nightscapes. The weekend shall consist of:

  • Practical astrophotography.  There are plenty of safe areas for people to set up their equipment and leave it in situ for the whole weekend.
  • Image Processing: There is a huge room with long tables available which is perfect for people to set up computers.  If you have one then please bring an external monitor to attach to your laptop as this is very useful for other people to observe what you are doing.
  • Presentations: There shall be talks on astrophotography related topics held in the large hall.
  • Bring-and-buy: Feel free to bring along any equipment that you are no longer using and wish to sell.
  • Fish and chips dinner: Saturday night.  Please pay when you book.
  • Late-night movies: Should the weather not be kind then movies can be shown on the big screen.   

Everyone is encouraged to bring along their own telescopes/mounts/cameras etc. however basic they might be.

For more details and bookings, visit http://www.horoastronomy.org.nz/upcoming-events/astrophotography-weekend.

 WAS Christmas Party
Keep Wednesday 4th December from 7.30pm free for the WAS Christmas party! We’re working out the details so keep an eye out on our Facebook page or next newsletter for more details. It will be the last WAS gathering of 2019 and we’d love to celebrate this merry time with you all!

Central Star Party
The fourth Central Star Party will be held from Thursday 16th January to Sunday 19th of January 2020 and will be held at the Tuki Tuki Camp site in the Hawkes Bay. For further details see this web page.


WAS Membership Subscriptions for 2019-2020

It’s that time of year again when we ask you to renew your membership.  The try and keep the membership fees as low as possible so the fees are the same as last year.  Among other things your membership fees enable us to run public astronomy out reach event and schools visits at no charge to stimulate interest in space and astronomy in the Wellington region. 

The membership year is from September 1st to August 31st. 

Membership Type  

Cost for full-year membership
(1 Sep – 31 Aug)

Cost if applying after 1 Mar
(half year)




Unwaged (full-time students & beneficiaries) 



Associate (if you live 80+km away) 



Family membership (up to 2 caregivers & dependent children) 



If you want to pay your subs using Direct Deposit or Internet Banking: please use acct no 03-0502-0508656-00.  Remember to use your name as reference with your direct deposit, so WAS knows who’s paid.  And of course we are happy to accept real money by post or at the monthly meetings.


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.