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News and articles from the Christchurch Astro Tours team

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Lunar eclipses and selenelions

Lunar eclipses and selenelions

Saturday morning saw us take on the challenge of carrying the 12 inch telescope up the Port Hills to Victoria Park in an attempt to help people understand the lunar eclipse phenomena and what they were seeing. We chose a location that we thought was readily accessible, but forgot to take into account the gates would be shut at that time of day (we'll learn for next time). So we set up on the side access road to the dog exercise area and were very shortly joined by around 100 people and a camera

Astro Tours

Astro Tours

The 9 stars of Matariki

The 9 stars of Matariki

Matariki is the Māori name for a cluster of stars. This year, from July 6 to 9, Matariki will re-appear in the dawn sky – signalling the start of the Māori New Year.   It is a time to celebrate new life, to remember those who’ve passed and to plan for the future. And it’s a time to spend with whānau and friends – to enjoy kai (food), waiata (song), tākaro (games) and haka.   Our tūpuna (ancestors) would look to Matariki for help with their harvesting. When Matariki disappeared in April/M

Astro Tours

Astro Tours

Winter solstice

Winter solstice

At 22:07 tonight the sun reaches the northernmost point in it’s annual journey around the sky. We go past our shortest day and from tomorrow the days get longer. So, if you are in the Southern hemisphere, happy winter solstice. It’s also the longest night of the year, so go out and enjoy our amazing Southern Hemisphere sky! 

Astro Tours

Astro Tours

The rise of Matariki

The rise of Matariki

The rise of Matariki signified the start of the New Year for Maori. This year Matariki begins today and if you’re a keen stargazer hoping for a glimpse of the star cluster tonight, then you need to be aware of the simple fact that catches out 99% of people interested in viewing the constellation: It rises early in the morning. At when first viewed is quickly extinguished by sunrise. As the year goes on though, it does get higher in the sky, but New Year is about the RISING, so you need to get up

Astro Tours

Astro Tours

A sky full of planets

A sky full of planets

The night sky is continuing to fill up with planets with all of them visible at some point during the night. Now all we need are some clear skies. Keep watching our weather pages for a guide as to the probability of getting some views. Maybe not the most impressive shot of Jupiter you ever saw. What if I tell you that it was taken with a standard phone camera through our main telescope? Jupiter is nice and up in the sky with the four moons visible most of the time.

Astro Tours

Astro Tours

Alpha Crucis

Alpha Crucis

I love the halo effect on Acrux when photographed. The bright star Alpha Crucis marks the base of the Southern Cross, and at magnitude 0.8, ranks as one of the brightest stars in the southern skies. Also known as Acrux, this star is an excellent multiple star system for binoculars and a small telescope. And it’s one of the few double stars that can be resolved with a telescope during daylight hours. Acrux could not be easier to find. At magnitude 0.8, it’s the brightest star in the con

Astro Tours

Astro Tours

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