30 Mar 2015

50th birthday of Mt John University Observatory

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 2:09 pm on 30 March 2015

Mt John observatory

The McLellan telescope building and dome, looking south over the Mackenzie Basin. Photo: Fraser Gunn, April 2007.

John HearnshawThe Mt John University Observatory at Tekapo is celebrating its 50th birthday this year. And a lot has changed since it opened in 1965. From humble beginnings it has evolved into a premier astronomical research facility. And now it also plays host to a thriving astro-tourism industry with a million people visiting in the past ten years. John Hearnshaw is an Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at the University of Canterbury. He has spent 25 years as the director of the observatory. And, in celebration of its birthday, he's just co-authored a book with Alan Gilmore, called Mt John – The First 50 Years: A celebration of half a century of optical astronomy at the University of Canterbury.

John Hearnshaw at Mt John, February 2014. Photo: John Hearnshaw.

The dome at dusk
The MOA dome at dusk, Mt John, March 2011. Photo: Fraser Gunn

Night sky
Stars and the Milky Way are reflected in the calm waters of Lake Alexandrina, near Mt John. Photo: Fraser Gunn, 11 June 2013

All photos from Mt John – The First 50 Years by John Hearnshaw and Alan Gilmore, published by Canterbury University Press, 2015.