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

October 2022 Monthly Meeting

Our regular monthly meeting will be on Wednesday 5th October at 7.30 pm – at Space Place and online.

In addition to the regular astronomy news and exploring the night sky, this month will feature a talk on the Curiosity rover by Dr Betina Pavri (ex-Curiosity Mission at JPL). Further details are available here, on our Facebook page and in the monthly newsletter.

November 2022 Monthly Meeting and AGM

Our November monthly meeting will be on Wednesday 2nd November at 7.30 pm – at Space Place and online. This meeting is our annual general meeting.

Interested in serving on Council? Get your nomination in. Some vacancies are coming up at the AGM in November. For instance, our President Matt Boucher will be stepping down due to the demands of his new job. In addition, we are looking for a Deputy Web Master to take over while our Web Master, Peter Woods, is overseas for several months next year. Nominations should be sent to the Secretary, Adam Rosner, using the web form here.

December 2022 Monthly Meeting and Xmas party

Our November monthly meeting will be on Wednesday 7th December at 7.30 pm. Location not yet confirmed so watch this space.

New Zealand Astrophotography Competition

2022 New Zealand Astrophotography Competition is now open for entries This year’s competition will be judged by Alyn Wallace, arguably one of the world’s top Astro, landscape, and time-lapse photographers.
The competition has four main categories:

  • Deep-Sky
  • Nightscape
  • Solar system
  • Time-lapse

Please read over the rules and conditions of entry at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xMg-rKYyB7afWdlWRgM1k8qrMlt1p818/view

The competition is sponsored by the Australian Sky & Telescope magazine, with a free 12-month subscription. The nightscape and deep-sky category winners will have their images printed in the magazine.

Here is the list of prizes provided by the sponsors:
Star Adventurer 2i Photo Kit Valued at $549 AUD to the competition’s overall winner, provided by Skywatcher Australia.
Nature DX 12×56 Binoculars – Valued at $490 AUD to the winner of the Deep Sky category, provided by Celestron Australia.
A $300 AstroNZ gift voucher for the solar system category winner, sponsored by AstroNZ (https://astronz.nz/). They are easily New Zealand’s best known and most trusted supplier of Astronomical instruments.
Skylabs NZ (https://www.skylabs.co.nz) is sponsoring each category with some fantastic products:
Deep-Sky and Solar System: Skylabs NZ Cheshire Eyepiece 2″ and improved Sensitivity tri-Bahtinov Mask.
Nightscape and Time-lapse: Enhanced Bahtinov Focusing Mask and polar Alignment Adapter.
The Auckland Astronomical Society will provide a cash prize for each category winner.

The last date for submitting your entries is the 21st of September 2022. The competition awards will be announced at the Burbidge dinner, Auckland Astronomical Society’s premier annual event. Keep an eye out on the society’s website for details of the forthcoming Burbidge dinner.

This year, the entries are to be submitted via Google Form: https://forms.gle/GdmNFiUCfaNeLjFj6

New Zealand’s Progress Towards a Dark Sky Nation

This a talk by John Hearnshaw put on by The Institution of Engineering and Technology, Wellington

Beca Office, 85 Molesworth Street, Thorndon, Wellington 6011
(please take the lift up to level 6)
Wednesday 12th October 2022
Doors open 5.30pm
Presentation 6pm

Northern Star Party 2022

The Auckland Astronomical Society’s Waharau Dark Sky Weekend is at Waharau Regional Park 1748 East Coast Rd, Orere Point, Whakatiwai 2473 (about 1 hour’s drive from central Auckland) on Labour
Weekend: 21 October starting at 4pm and ending Sunday 23 October 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 thought a range of different telescopes.
Bring your telescope or binoculars, but if you don’t have any there will be plenty there for you to look through.

During the day on Saturday there will be a full programme of practical astronomy — how to use equipment and various types of telescopes, new equipment demonstrations and an astrophotography workshop.

More information here.

Horowhenua Astronomical Society Astrophotography Weekend

The Horowhenua Astronomical Society is hosting the eighth New Zealand Astrophotography Weekend, 25th to 27th of November. Held in the lower North Island it is an annual event dedicated to astrophotography in a wonderful dark-sky location. It is open to everyone interested in astrophotography – from beginners to advanced. Come along and share your knowledge, tips and experiences.

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 (see below).
  • 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.

There will also be presentations and workshops. For further details and booking go to 2022 Astrophotography Camp

Central Star Party

Thursday 12 – Tuesday 17 January 2023. Pencil this date into your calendars, for it is the great five nights of telescope viewing, talks and socialising in the sunny Hawkes Bay. More details to follow closer to the time.

Call for Volunteers

The construction of the observatories both in Wellington and at the dark sky site in the Wairarapa is ramping up. We are therefore looking for volunteers to help. All offers of help would be good, but if you have some particular skills that would be even better. Electrical, electronic, construction, computer and mechanical skills are all required to get these observatories up and running. We are particularly looking for mechanical skills to help with the dome rotation at the Gifford observatory.

We normally have a number of outreach events scheduled over the next few months or so. We have a team of volunteers who help with these events, but we are always looking for new blood. 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 Monthly Meeting location (red marker)

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