Astronomy & Geology Events


Wairarapa:                                            Astronomy Events 2020

The Phoenix Astronomical Society meetings (Trek around the Cosmos) are at the Stonehenge Aotearoa site. This allows us (weather permitting) to hold an observing session after the meeting. TPAS members free entry.  Public can register to come to meetings: Adults $15, seniors $10 and students (either primary or secondary) $5. Family $15 (4 people: 1 or 2 adults and children)You can book in using the booking system or contact us 06 3771600.  In 2020 meetings will be on the third Saturday of the month

What many people do not know is that we have an observatory with large telescopes adjacent to Stonehenge.       Using images from space telescopes each evening  will include a presentation  on the  latest discoveries  from observatories around the world  plus a special  presentation on something in our current night sky.    The evening will conclude, weather permitting, with a tour of the night sky and viewing celestial wonders through large telescopes. 

Stargazing and telescope viewing every Friday and Saturday evening

At Stonehenge Aotearoa we have been developing astronomy programmes for visitors and locals. Two top astronomer/teachers, Sam Leske and Haritina Mogosanu, have joined our team and run stargazing and large telescope viewing programmes every Friday and Saturday evening. In addition, they are developing science courses and school astronomy programmes. So come with us on a trek into deep space and explore the wonders of the universe.

The programme starts at 8 pm. For the public the fee is: Adults $15; Seniors $10; School students $5; Phoenix Society members no charge. Bookings are recommended.

Astronomy Course

This two-day beginner’s astronomy course at Stonehenge Aotearoa runs from 12:30 to 5:00 pm on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 February. Weather permitting; there will be a tour of the night sky and telescope viewing in the evenings at 8 pm.

Part 1 (Saturday) – Putting things in perspective: We will talk about distances of the Moon and the planets. We will learn about our place in the universe, the cosmic perspective and then, moving closer to home, we will have a look at the solar system, the planets, asteroids and our Moon.

Part 2 (Sunday) – Navigating the changing sky: Constellations, the zodiac, and asterisms. We also look at the tools that help our understanding of the night sky: the armillary sphere, the planisphere, and the sextant. Travelling from one pole to the other, we will look at changes in the night sky. We will learn about magnitudes and the qualities of the night sky, light pollution and why we should care about it.

Fee: The fee for the 2-day course is: Adults $100; Seniors $80; School students $10; Phoenix Society members no charge. Bookings are essential. Phone (06) 377 1600

Telescope course

Do you have a telescope that someone gave you and you don’t know where to start? Are looking at buying a telescope for yourself or someone you know but not sure what to get? Are you thinking about looking at the night sky but are worried about all of the different options and equipment available?

If these are questions you ask then this course is for you. At the end of the course you’ll know how to use a telescope, know all about the accessories and know which type of telescope is best suited to your interests.

Fee: The fee for the 2-day course is: Adults $100; Seniors $80; School students $10. Bookings are essential. Phone (06) 377 1600


Astro-imaging Course

This astrophotography course runs from 4 pm to 8 pm and is followed by, weather permitting, photography and telescope observing. The course will include imaging with DSLR and mobile phones, and the photography of the Moon and planets.

Fee: The fee for the course is: Adults $59; Seniors $48; School students $30. Bookings are essential. Phone (06) 377 1600

will be held every 3 months and will replace that month's meeting,  next  Orion Stardate Feb, 21-23 2020. 

Orion Stardate, Feb 21-23, 2020

Friday February 21st  

4:00 pm           Registration opens  Shop & Registrations throughout Stardate: Kay Leather & Bernadette Whaanga

5:30 pm           Barbecue with Geoff Palmer

Friday Evening

7:00 pm           Official Opening                                 Chair:  Richard Hall   

7:10 pm           Super Massive Black Holes              Presentation by Sam Leske     

Discover the location and explore the nature of the most awesome objects in the known Universe.

7:50 pm           Tea/coffee

8:00 pm           The Stars of Gould’s Belt                 Presentation by Ian Cooper

The constellation of Orion is one of several in that part of the sky that contains stars that are members of a gravitationally bound group of mostly young, blue giant stars that loop out above the plain of the Milky Way.

8:40 pm           Summer Stars            ``                      Audio-visual tour of our summer night sky

9:15 pm           Laser Tour of the Night Sky followed by Telescope Viewing

with Ian Cooper, Sam Leske , Haritina Mogosanu and Paul Mallinson

10:30 pm         Late Night Movie   (Starts at 9:30pm if, due to weather conditions, there is no observing).

Our late night movies this Stardate commemorate the late, great Kirk Douglas.  Tonight we have the 1954 classic “20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA”.

Saturday  February 22nd

10:00 am         Vineyard Visit and Wine Tasting with Geoff Palmer           (Meet at Stonehenge car park).

11:00 am         Ancient Tales & Tour of Stonehenge Aotearoa     with Richard Hall

Saturday Afternoon   Chair Bernadette Whaanga

1:00 pm           Solar Observing         with  Sam Leske

2:00 pm           Starmus          Presentation by Gavin Logan

Gavin will discuss his experience of Starmus, a global festival of science communication and art that brings together the most brilliant minds on the planet. The 2019 Starmus was held in Zurich.

2:40 pm           Will Betelgeuse Go Supernova Soon?         Presentation by Ian Cooper    

We will take a look at all of the latest conjecture on what the most recent diming of the Red Supergiant in Orion could mean for a possible cataclysmic explosion of the famous star.

3:20 pm           Tea/Coffee

Saturday Afternoon cont.   Chair Bernadette Whaanga

3:40 pm             The Celts                  Presentation by Kay Leather

This is the story of an ancient people who are, for many of us, our ancestors.   In this presentation Kay discusses who they were, their origin, beliefs, and their astronomy.  Thousands of years ago these people created star charts, calendars and built astronomical structures such as Stonehenge.

4:30pm                        Session ends

5:00 pm           Dinner/Barbecue with Geoff Palmer

Saturday Evening                 Chair Marilyn Briggs

7.00 pm           Why Bother?             Presentation by Haritina Mogosanu

We are having this conversation today due to a series of chance events, among which a supernova, a direct hit of Earth by a Mars-sized body, five mass extinctions and the mere fact that the atoms we are made of were forged billions of years ago in the heart of stars. Yet, today we seem to be preoccupied by profits generated by burning fossil fuels, spending an extraordinary amount of time going to war, building walls and borders or ignoring what science tells us about climate change. Instead we should be empowering future generations to deal with the extraordinary changes that we are going through right now. This talk will look at what being alive means in this context and what have we learned about ourselves.

7.35 pm           Tea/coffee

7:45pm                        Forge of the Gods     Presentation by Richard Hall

The most brilliant constellation in our summer evening sky is Orion – The Hunter.  Beyond these bright stars is a vast dark cosmic cloud.  On the wall of this cloud is the Orion Nebula - a glowing crater in which new stars and planetary systems are forming.  In this presentation by Richard Hall we explore wonders of Orion and the process of star and planet birth.

8:30 pm           Listen to the Stars        Live music at the Henge with the following program:-

                        1.         Keith Austin instrumental

                        2.         Carterton Choir performing African and Maori songs plus a song by Keith Austin

                        3.         Heather Bannister sings

                        4.         GRAFIA performing original songs by Dr. Rob.

                        5.         Stefan Brown singing jazz originals.

                        6.         Kevin Bannister performing guitar blues and country instrumentals.

9:15 pm           Telescope Viewing with Ian Cooper, Sam Leske, Haritina Mogosanu and Paul Mallinson

10:30 pm         Late Night Movie   Another great Kirk Douglas movie:  The 1958 classic “THE VIKINGS”.

Sunday February 23rd Morning

10:00am          This Island Earth      Presentation by Richard Hall

Our last presentation takes you on a journey through space and time in search of our place in the Universe.

11:00am          YOU HAVE YOUR SAY - Group discussion followed by the official closing of Stardate.

Orion Stardate 2020 Fees           

Registration Fee:  (all or part of Stardate): Adults $35, Students (10 to 18 years) $10, Children (under 10): $5.

Camping Fee for weekend $10 per tent or caravan.

Music only (Sat. night - Listen to the Stars): Adults $10, Students (10 to 18 years) $5, Children (under 10): free

This programme could be subject to minor changes

Orion Stardate web 200pixel
Paul, Scope & Wife 200w
Paul Mallinson's telescope is now available for Stardate as well as other telescopes in the main observatory including a 23" reflector and 12" Meade.

10 inch schmit-cas 200
Schmidt -casegraine telescope
23 inch 200
23" reflector

Up the ladder, viewing through the 23" telescope
23 telescope 200
Stargazers no text 200

Stonehenge Stargazers Safari telescope which will be operating at the Orion Stardate
Stardate 2017 mingling 200
Setting up the barbeque at a previous Stardate
Stardate 2017 telescope 200
Robyn & Edwin, keen observers at 2017 Stardate

Centaurus Stardate, 22-24 May  2020 Centaurus Stardate web sm
Scorpius Stardate, August 21-23  2020 Scorpius Stardate web sm

Stardate 2019

Stardate 2019

OPENING HOURS (seasonal)
Open 10am to 4pm:

For further details: click here

 Private Tours can be arranged on any day at a time by appointment.




Phone: (06) 377 1600
Postal address: P.O. Box 156, Carterton 5743
Street address: 51 Ahiaruhe Road, R.D.2 Carterton, 5792
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