Welcome to the WAS website

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

The software we use to run the website is showing its age and giving problems. As a result the website is currently being updated with new software. You will noticed changes over the next while to the look and layout of the website. As always if you encounter major problems or have any suggestion for changes to the website please email us at [email protected].

Upcoming Events

March Monthly Meeting

When: Wednesday 3rd March at 7:30 pm
Where: Because we are at COVD level 2 this month meeting will be Zoom only. There will be no meeting at Space Place. Join us via Zoom https://zoom.us/j/93729549795?pwd=SnJOTHZZYnZJVlo5TXAzZzU0QWxvQT09
Meeting ID: 937 2954 9795
Passcode: 111222

Our next meeting will feature Antony Gomez talking about NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed safely in the Jezero Crater on Mars on the morning of Friday 19 February, NZ time.

What is the Perseverance rover? How large is it? How will the mission search for signs of ancient life? What is the role of Ingenuity, the very light helicopter – and can it fly in Mars’s thin atmosphere? How does the Perseverance mission fit in with previous Mars missions?

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 13 March, 8 pm onwards
Where: Star Field – John Whitby’s dark sky site in the southern Wairarapa.

The evening will be a dark sky, with the Milky Way standing out after the crescent new Moon setting around 8 pm. There will be a tour of the Night Sky for beginners with a pointer before we get on the telescopes. There is also a lot of expertise available for anyone wanting to photograph the Night Sky.

Register 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 in the Wairarapa, and any updates, will be emailed out.
The event is free to members of the Society. Non-members are welcome to come along but to cover costs, non-members will be asked to contribute $10 per person to the Society. (To join the Society see https://www.was.org.nz/join-us/ )

What to bring for astrophotography? See https://www.was.org.nz/2021/01/february-2021-was-astrophotography-group-dark-sky-observing/

Summer Star Party

When: From 7.30 pm on Saturday 20th March. The autumn equinox
Where: On the Wellington waterfront, near the seaward entrance to the lagoon.

We had cloudy skies in February, with the Moon appearing only intermittently, but we’re hoping for a clear night in March.

Northern Star Party

When: April 9th to 11th 2021
Where: Waharau Regional Park

The Auckland Astronomical Society’s Northern Star Party (Dark Sky Weekend) will be at Waharau Regional Park. April 9th to 11th 2021. It is also open to non-members to attend. It’s a great fun weekend.

The Auckland Astronomical Society’s Waharau Dark Sky Weekend (2021 Northern Star Party – Dark Sky Weekend) is held at Waharau Regional Park 1748 East Coast Rd, Orere Point, Whakatiwai 2473 (about 1 hour’s drive from central Auckland), starting on Friday 9th April at 5pm and ending Sunday 11th November at 11am.

It will be a weekend of practical astronomy and dark sky observing. It is great opportunity to spend a weekend viewing the sky from a dark site on Moonless nights through a range of different telescopes. Bring your telescope or binoculars.

See the Auckland Astronomical Society’s web site for more details.

IAU Astrophotography contest

Entries close April 15th.

Are you an astrophotographer – and keen on supporting astronomy education? Then this contest is for you: The IAU’s Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) is running an astrophotography contest until April 15 2021. Besides receiving cash prizes, the winning images will be made available as Open Educational Resources for teachers and learners world-wide.

Astronomy education is a powerful tool to teach students about the place of our planet, and ourselves, in the universe – and a gateway science to the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). One of the OAE’s goals is to provide astronomy educators worldwide with a basic collection of high quality educational resources. While many useful images are already available for public use, we have identified a number of astronomy-related themes where we think educators could use support.

Participants can submit images in the following categories: star trails, meteor showers, comets, total lunar eclipses, light pollution, aurorae (still images and time-lapses), wide star fields, Sun/Moon haloes, and time-lapses of Galilean moons orbiting around Jupiter. Submissions will be evaluated by an international panel of astrophotographers and astronomy educators. Apart from aesthetic and technical criteria, the jury will carefully consider the educational value of each entry in the context of primary and secondary school teaching.

There will be three winning entries for each category, which will be awarded with cash prizes of 750, 500 and 250 Euros for the first, second, and third prizes, respectively. All winning entries are published in the OAE’s astronomy education resources collection under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 International License (note that the authors will still retain the copyright to their images). See https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Before submitting your entries, please read carefully the competition rules, which you can find at  https://www.haus-der-astronomie.de/3984845/oae_astrophotography_contest_rules.pdf

You can submit your entries at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfR9Wnm6li5dveq5Xq1VZ0pqf_nAUs60iAdNfp6c491hSEdBQ/viewform

For any queries regarding the competition, please contact [email protected].

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 presid[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