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Astronomy in New Zealand

  • John B. Hearnshaw
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 335)

Abstract

Although New Zealand is a young country, astronomy played a significant role in its early exploration and discovery during the three voyages of Cook from 1769. In the later 19th century several expeditions came to New Zealand to observe the transits of Venus of 1874 and 1882 and New Zealand’s rich history of prominent amateur astronomers dates from this time. The Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (founded in 1920) has catered for the amateur community. Professional astronomy however had a slow start in New Zealand. The Carter Observatory was founded in 1941. But it was not until astronomy was taken up by New Zealand’s universities, notably by the University of Canterbury from 1963, that a firm basis for research in astronomy and astrophysics was established. Mt John University Observatory with its four optical telescopes (largest 1.8 m) is operated by the University of Canterbury and is the main base for observational astronomy in the country. However four other New Zealand universities also have an interest in astronomical research at the present time. There is also considerable involvement in large international projects such as MOA, SALT, AMOR, IceCube and possibly SKA.

Keywords

Variable Star Astronomical Unit Astronomical Society Royal Astronomical Society Amateur Astronomer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • John B. Hearnshaw
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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