Stargazing in Tekapo

One thing that makes Tekapo such a magnificent and magical place is it’s beautiful night sky. Now couldn’t be a better time to check out Tekapo’s night sky as Saturn is in full show at this time of the year!

Due to light restrictions creating very low light pollution, Tekapo can boast one of the darkest and starriest night skys in the world. Tens of thousands of people flock here annually to see the southern stars and transient phenomena such as aurorae, meteor showers and the zodiacal light in all their pristine glory.

The best way to experience the amazing Tekapo night sky is with a tour by Earth and Sky.

Earth and Sky base their operations from a small office in town and at the Mt John observatory.

Lake Tekapo and clouds on a moon lit night from Mt John -Photography by Fraser Gunn

Lake Tekapo and clouds on a moon lit night from Mt John -Photography by Fraser Gunn

 Mt John was chosen as the best observatory site in New Zealand because of its high number of clear nights throughout the year, the stability and transparency of the atmosphere and the uniquely dark skies in the Mackenzie Basin/ Mt John observatory is internationally recognised as one of the best-situated observatories for viewing the southern night skies.

 Earth and Sky offer a number of different tours to suit your group’s wants and needs.

 The Day touris a quick 30-45min tour which encompasses the history of the observatory, a description of the exciting research currently being conducted and a visit in to see NZ’s largest telescope.

MOA2 - the largest telescope in the world dedicated to microlensing observations.

MOA2 - the largest telescope in the world dedicated to microlensing observations.

 The Scenic day tour will have you guided to various areas of interest in Tekapo. This includes the Church of the Good Shepherd, the Collie dog statue and the Tekapo A Power Station; start of New Zealand’s largest hydro power system. Then its off to Mt John Observatory for a day tour and optional walk around the scenic summit walkway; approximately 20min. This is followed by a morning tea, lunch or afternoon tea at the Astro Café

 The dusk to darkness tour is designed to offer you the best experience the Mackenzie can offer from the summit of Mount John at the celebrated Astro Café. Prepare to be marvelled by the stunning panoramic views and colourful scenery.

 The Star gazing touris a very popular tour and if conditions permit, the astronomy guides will help you navigate the southern night sky outdoors using green laser pointers. Experience the thrill of peering through powerful and binoculars to see amazing sights of the night sky.

Reflected Nebula around Antares - Photography by Fraser Gunn

Reflected Nebula around Antares - Photography by Fraser Gunn

Family tours are also available during the holidays.

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