September Meeting

When: Wednesday 5th September 7:30 pm

Where:  Space Place (Carter Observatory)

What: The meeting will consist of:

  • The Night sky in August
  • Astronomy News
  • Main talk at 8:00 pm

Our very own Practical Astronomer extraordinaire – John Whitby – will briefly cover parts of his journey with astronomy, where he is now and what he hopes to achieve in the near future. John has taken the idea of commitment to astronomy to a whole new level. This promises exciting times and benefits for locals and visitors to his dark sky site just south of Martinborough.

John Whitby is a practical amateur astronomer with around twenty years experience under the stars. He started out doing visual astronomy then later specialised in video astronomy which included worldwide broadcasting of deep sky objects, live and in colour. More recently John started doing Deep Sky Astrophotography.

For many years John had an observatory in Taumata Island (rural Carterton) and held informal star parties with other fellow amateur astronomers in his gardens.

John decided that he wanted to have an dedicated observatory complex in a truly dark sky site that covered visual, video and imaging and that he could share with like minded people and the public. For five years John took every opportunity possible to travel to some of the darkest skies available throughout New Zealand, in an effort to identify a truly dark sky with good seeing conditions and regular clear skies.

The search brought John back to his hometown of Martinborough where he purchased a unique property, just 10 minutes East of Martinborough, that had all the qualities he sought.

This is the story of John’s journey to get to Star Field in Martinborough, an observatory complex currently under construction in the heart of the proposed Martinborough Dark Sky Reserve.