Astronomy in New Zealand

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


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.


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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Andrews, F.P. & Budding, E. 1992, Carter Observatory’s 9-inch Refractor: The Crossley Connection, Southern Stars 34, 358–366.ADSGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Austin, R.R.D. 1994, Albert Jones — The Quiet Achiever, Southern Stars 36, 36–42.ADSGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Baggaley, W.J. 2001, The AMOR Radar: An Efficient Tool for Meteoroid Research, Adv. Space Res. 28(9), 1277–1282.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Baggaley, W.J., Bennett, R.G.T., Steel, D.I. & Taylor, A.D. 1994, The Advanced Meteor Orbit Radar: AMOR, Quart. J. Roy. Astron. Soc. 35, 293–320.ADSGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Baggaley W.J. & Galligan G.P. 2001, Mapping the Interstellar Dust Flow into the Solar System, European Space Agency Special Report SP-495, 703.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bateson, F.M. 1964, Final Report on the Site Selection Survey of New Zealand, Publ. Univ. Pennsylvania, Astron. Series X, iv + 139 pp.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bateson, F.M. 1978, The Southern Dwarf Nova, Z Cha, Monthly Not. R. Astron. Soc. 184, 567.ADSGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bateson, F.M. 2001, The Variable Star Section, RASNZ, Southern Stars 40, 7–11.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Best, E. 1922, The Astronomical Knowledge of the Maori, First published 1922; new edition 1955 published as Dominion Museum Monograph 3.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bond, I.A., Udalski, A., Jaroszynski, M., Rattenbury, N.J., Paczynski, B., Soszynski, I., Wyrzykowski, L., Szymanski, M.K., Kubiak, M., Szewczyk, O., Zebrun, K., Pietrzynski, G., Abe, F., Bennett, D.P., Eguchi, S., Furuta, Y., Hearnshaw, J.B., Kamiya, K., Kilmartin, P.M., Kurata, Y., Masuda, K., Matsubara, Y., Muraki, Y., Noda, S., Okajima, K., Sako, T., Sekiguchi, T., Sullivan, D.J., Sumi, T., Tristram, P.J., Yanagisawa, T. & Yock, P.C.M. 2004, OGLE 2003-BLG-235/MOA 2003-BLG-53: A Planetary Microlensing Event, Astrophys. J. 606, L155–L158.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Budding, E. 1989, Eightieth birthday of Dr Frank M. Bateson, Southern Stars 33, 169.ADSGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Burdon, R.M. 1956, Scholar Errant, Pegasus Press, Christchurch, NZ.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Calder, D. 1978, Joseph Ward: Pioneer Astronomer and Telescope Maker, Southern Stars 27, 104–108.ADSGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Campbell, R.N. 2001, Henry Skey 1836–1914, Southern Stars 40/2, 11–12.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Dick, S.J., Love, T. & Orchiston, W. 1998, Queenstown and the 1874 Transit of Venus, Carter Observatory Information sheet 11.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Dodson, A. 1996, Thye With-Browning Telescope at Pauatahanui, Southern Stars 37, 45–51.ADSGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Doughty, N.A., Shane, C.D. & Wood, F.B. 1972, The Canterbury Sky Atlas, Publ. Dept. of Physics, Univ. Canterbury, NZ.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Eiby, G. 1970, Captain James Cook and the Universe, Southern Stars 23, 140–152.ADSGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Einstein, A. 1936, Lens-like Action of a Star by the Deviation of Light in the Gravitational Field, Science 84, 506–507.MATHCrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Evans, R.W. & Lucas, K.J. 1989, The Skey-Ashburton College Telescope, Southern Stars 33, 178–187.ADSGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gilmore, G. 1982, Alexander William Bickerton: New Zealand’s Colourful Astronomer, Southern Stars 29, 87–108.ADSGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Harper, C.T., Warren, O. & Austin, R. 1990, J.T. Ward and the NZO Double Stars, Southern Stars 33, 281–294.ADSGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hayes, M. 1987, In Spite of his Time, a Biography of R.C. Hayes, NZ Geophysical Society.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Hearnshaw, J.B., Barnes, S.I., Kershaw, G.M., Frost, N., Graham, G., Ritchie, R.A. & Nankivell, G.R. 2002, The Hercules ‘Echelle Spectrograph at Mt John, Experimental Astron. 13, 59–76.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Jones, A.F. 1989, F.M. Bateson: A Tribute from an Observer, Southern Stars 33, 170–171.ADSGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kingsley-Smith, C. 1967, Astronomers in Piupius: Maori Star Lore, Southern Stars 22, 5–10.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kravchenko, I., Frichter, G.M., Miller, T., Piccirillo, L., Seckel, D., Spiczak, G.M., Adams, J., Seunarine, S., Allen, C., Bean, A., Besson, D., Box, D.J., Buniy, R., Drees, J., McKay, D., Meyers, J., Perry, L., Ralston, J., Razzaque, S. & Schmitz, D.W. 2003, Limits on the Ultra-high Energy Electron Neutrino Flux from the RICE Experiment, Astropart. Phys. 20, 195–213.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    McIntosh, R.A. 1935, An Index to Southern Meteor Showers, Monthly Not. R. Astron. Soc. 95, 709–718.ADSGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    McIntosh, R.A. 1970, Early New Zealand Astronomy, Southern Stars 23, 101–108.ADSGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Nankivell, G.R. 1994, The 9.5-inch Cooke Objective of the Wanganui Observatory, Southern Stars 36, 1–9.ADSGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Orbell, M. 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Maori Myth and Legend, Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Orchiston, W. 1998, Nautical Astronomy in New Zealand, Publ. Carter Observatory, Wellington.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Orchiston, W. 2001, The Thames Observatories of John Grigg, Southern Stars 403, 14–22.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Orchiston, W. 2002, Joseph Ward: Pioneer New Zealand Telescope Maker, Southern Stars 41, 13–21.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Orchiston, W., Love, T. & Dick, S.J. 2000, Refining the Astronomical Unit: Queenstown and the 1874 Transit of Venus, J. Astron. History and Heritage 3, 23–44.ADSGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Seymour, J.B. 1995, The History of the Thomas King Observatory, Wellington, Southern Stars 36, 102–114.ADSGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Taylor, A.D., Baggaley, W.J. & Steel, D.I. 1996, Discovery of Interstellar Dust Entering the Earth’s Atmosphere, Nature 380, 323–325.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Thomsen, I. 1950, Proceedings of Observatories: Report from Carter Observatory, Wellington, NZ, Monthly Not. R. Astron. Soc. 110, 163.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations