Telescopes are amazing pieces of technology. Invented in the 1600’s, they fundamentally changed our understanding of the Universe. They are possibly the most significant invention of the modern age, as they constantly pushed the frontier of knowledge from being limited by our eyesight to depths we find hard to even imagine.
Just like most inventions who changed humankind, telescopes started as a military invention, they have been the first “spy glasses”. In 1609, Galileo Galilei was the first person to point them up at the night sky and write about it.
We operate large telescopes and the main observing telescopes both have 16″ (405mm) optics. We think it is a ripoff charging people money to look in a small telescope so we offer you the chance to look in something quite different. Our telescopes have 4 times the light gathering ability of the 8″ (200mm) telescope that other commercial stargazing operators use in the Wairarapa. Plus we use top of the range Televue Ethos 2″ eyepieces which give stunning views that are no possible in the cheaper eyepieces used by other operators.
We love our telescopes and feel we don’t have enough of them. For public stargazing we mainly use two:
These are 16″ telescopes, which means they have a very large mirror (400mm) that collects light to see very faint objects. The focal ratio is f/4.5, this gives the balance between the size of the mirror and the length of the telescope. 4.5 gives a focal length of 1.8 meters.
These telescopes are very good to observe deep sky objects. We love looking at faint galaxies such as the ones from the Fornax Cluster, the Grus Quartet and bringing to life nebulae and globular and open clusters, which the sky in New Zealand is so rich with.
The Skywatcher 250 PX
This is a guided telescope on a Skywatcher EQ6 mount, this means it tracks the objects in the night sky. We often use it to look at planets and since it’s tracking it means that it can stay on an object as the Earth is turning around.
This was our old astrophotography telescope and has been a workhorse for over a decade capturing stunning images of the night sky. Here are some examples of planets recently photographed through this telescope.
The ORion XT 8
This is our baby telescope, very versatile, great quality telescope. We love this telescope and it has been to many functions and star parties with us. We sometimes have this out at Star Safari, mainly for looking at the Moon and we have an attachment that connects most mobile phones to the telescope for getting a great picture of the Moon for yourself.