Mt John -- The First 50 Years: A Celebration of Half a Century of Optical Astronomy at the University of Canterbury

Mt John -- The First 50 Years: A Celebration of Half a Century of Optical Astronomy at the University of Canterbury

by John Hearnshaw, Alan Gilmore


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Mt John University Observatory is New Zealand’s only professional research observatory for optical astronomy. In 1965, Mt John University Observatory was founded at Lake Tekapo in the Mackenzie Basin to take advantage of the favorable conditions for astronomy. Telescopes were installed, and in 1981 a lighting ordinance helped protect the site from light pollution. Astronomical research had been thriving on Mt John for 40 years when astrotourism started to take off. Today Mt John is both a research observatory and a mecca for stargazing astrotourists, who come to see the pristine landscape and the amazing dark night skies. It is one of the most beautiful astronomical observatories in the world, but also a place with an often turbulent history, having been rocked by personality battles, funding shortfalls, student demonstrations, and, on one occasion, a destructive fire. In spite of all that, its scientific work has been an outstanding success, and Mt John’s research work, especially in stellar astronomy, is known and respected around the world. This richly illustrated account follows the development of an iconic New Zealand scientific institution.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781927145623
Publisher: Canterbury University Press
Publication date: 07/01/2015
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 12.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

John Hearnshaw is Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at the University of Canterbury. He is the former director of Mt John Observatory, has won the Mechaelis Prize for Astronomy, and was elected foreign research associate for the Royal Astronomical Society, London. Alan Gilmore worked at Wellington’s Carter Observatory and established, with his wife Pam Kilmartin, a program tracking southern comets and near-Earth asteroids. He was Mt John superintendent (site manager) from 1996 until 2014, and has won the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand’s Murray Geddes Prize and the Nova Award of the American Association of Variable Star Observers.

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