Useful Links

Follow these links to some of the useful and interesting astronomy web sites for NZ and around the Internet. Please email us at if you find any of these links not working, or if you would like to suggest a link to be added to this page.

New Zealand Astronomy Societies and Organisations

If you live elsewhere in New Zealand and want to contact a more local society, you may wish to browse the local society page of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand. It has information and full contact details for lots of local and specialised astronomical societies around New Zealand.

  • The Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand This is the site of the national society of New Zealand. Be sure to look here for an excellent night sky guide compiled by Brian Loader from Canterbury University. The society exists as an entity in itself, but also contains several subsections, see this link for details on the various specialised sections.

Local societies

International Astronomy Societies and Organisations

  • International Dark-Sky Association Fight the light! Find out the sorts of things you can do to get revenge against light pollution and alert those responsible for its tragic consequences.
  • The Astronomical Society of Australia The Astronomical Society of Australia is the organisation of professional astronomers in Australia. The society also runs an encompassing general astronomy website, called Australian Astronomy.
  • Ancient Skies  – Unfortunately this web site has not been updated for some time. From the blurb on the website: The relationship between humankind and the sky is as old as humankind itself.  Human beings started to recognise and interpret the objects and events in the sky as soon, as they had fulfilled their basic needs.Ancient-Skies is a scientific project, which aims to collect, verify and publish available information about various human cultures and their astronomical knowledge in a single web accessible knowledge base, celebrating not only 400 years, but 4000 years of Astronomy as a science.

Non-astronomical societies


  • Gifford Observatory Situated above Wellington College, the Gifford Observatory and is managed by the Gifford Observatory Trust. Currently WAS is working with the Gifford Observatory Trust to establish a remotely controlled “robot” telescope at this site. WAS members will have access to this telescope.
  • Carter Observatory/Space Place The Carter Observatory is officially New Zealand’s national observatory. Located at the top of Wellington’s Botanical Gardens, regular planetarium shows and observing nights are offered. The staff of the observatory also provide astronomy-related educational courses.
  • Mt. John University Observatory Situated at Lake Tekapo, Mt John is the research observatory of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Canterbury University.
  • R.F. Joyce Observatory, West Melton Established in the 1950’s, the main observatory of the Canterbury Astronomical Society is located west of Christchurch.
  • Auckland Stardome Located in Cornwell Park, near One Tree Hill.
  • The Townsend Teece Observatory located in the Christchurch arts centre. This was badly damaged in the Christchurch earthquake but is undergoing restoration.
  • Geraldine Observatory An observatory located in Geraldine.
  • Kiwi Observatory An observatory located in Timaru.


Other New Zealand websites and pages of interest

  • NZ Astronomy Directory A directory of New Zealand astronomy information aimed at visitors to New Zealand.
  • Te Ara – The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand The history of astronomy in NZ from The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand.
  • Society of Maori Astronomy Research and Traditions
    Society of Maori Astronomy Research and Traditions (SMART) formed in 2009, this group was dedicated to the preservation and revitalisation of Maori astronomical knowledge. This group consists of Maori knowledge experts, educators, navigators and scientists.
  • Website to the Cosmos Rich Moss, of the Auckland Astronomical Society, maintains his own astronomy website, with particular interest in Southern Hemisphere topics.

Scientific news publications and information sources

Other sites

  • Space Info Australia  will be bringing you news and information from the fascinating fields of astronomy and space exploration. Because they’re based in Australia, naturally they’ll be focusing quite a bit on news from this region.
  • Space Weather has real-time information about what’s going on in the Solar System right now. If you’re interested in meteor showers, aurora or other types of event that often occur on short notice, this site is very useful to return to regularly.
  • Heavens Above Here you can enter any position on the Earth, and immediately be provided with details of how, where and when to find many of the brighter artificial satellites overhead and other astronomical objects.
  • Google Sky Google Sky also lets you look at high resolution astrophotographs down to about magnitude 20 and like Google Earth lets you explore the neighbourhood. At low resolution it also shows constellations. It also has the ability to view the universe at different wavelengths.
  • The Space Telescope Science Institute Digitized Sky Survey The digitised sky survey allows you to enter the Right Ascension and Declination position of any point in the sky and get an image of that part of the sky, generated from photographic plates taken by the Palomar and UK Schmidt telescopes.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day Astronomy Picture of the Day features a new astronomy picture every day, complete with an explanation from an expert in the field. It’s a very good site to visit daily if you want to increase your knowledge about astronomy a bit at a time. Consider setting it as your personal homepage that your browser stars on.
  • Australia Astronomy Buy & Sell A useful place to Buy Sell or Exchange astronomical items.
  • Home Science: Backyard Astronomy Basics A useful resource with basic information about the solar system, and the universe, constellations, how telescopes work, and it has some awesome games, projects and much more.
  • The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Astronomy A useful guide on the basics of getting started in astronomy. Good starter for younger ones too.
  • Guide to Backyard Astronomy A list of some other useful links.
  • Uncommon Knowledge About Astronauts Some interesting facts you didn’t know about astronauts!

Astronomy software

  • Stellarium Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your Window, Linux or Mac  OSx computers. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.It has many features including:
    • It has a default catalogue of over 600,000 stars with extra downloadable catalogues with more than 210 million stars.
    • Asterisms and illustrations of the constellations plus images of nebulae (full Messier catalogue).
    • Realistic Milky Way.
    • The planets and their satellites.
  • C2A (Computer Aided Astronomy) C2A is a planetarium software that allows you to build detailed views of stellar fields. It is only available for the Microsoft Windows Operating System (all versions). An important objective of this software is to take into account the main catalogues available to professional and amateur astronomers in order to prepare observations on small fields as well as astrometry and photometry works. C2A is also an easy to use general purpose Planetarium software with many functions.C2A in incorporates way to may feature to summarise here so see the “information” page on the C2A website for details.
  • Sky Safari is probably the best planetarium software for iPhone’s, iPad’s and Android phones and tablets.  It a commercial product with pricing for different versions. There is a free version for Andriod platforms.

Astronomy for Kids

Jim Colbert has suggested the following web pages are useful for getting kids interested in astronomy.

The Science and Learning Hub has excellent resources for both students and teachers.  In particular the following related to astronomy and space look very good.  Search & enjoy 3,500+ smart & super-cool, “not-made-for-kids, but perfect for them” videos in the classroom or together at home, curated by Rion Nakaya with her 7 & 9 year olds.

Outer Space From Your Window A collection of useful links from an American window company. Aimed mainly at children.

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