Please make enquiries for bookings by email to Tauranga Astronomical Society
During the winter months we invite schools and groups to visit the Tauranga Observatory. Though access to the observatory itself is always available, it is not spacious enough to accommodate a large group. The large connected hall is used for video and general astronomical presentation material in addition to any viewing through the telescopes. Access to this hall can be limited because of other outside groups requiring its use so hence the need for early bookings. Many groups and schools regularly feature Matariki in their syllabus towards the end of June and this can require careful scheduling, particularly with the weather, school holidays and the moon phase i.e. period when it can viewed. This is always difficult to deal with, particularly because of the vagaries of the weather. All children, and adults, seem to be impressed when they can view the beauty of the night sky through a large telescope. We generally work with school students up to year 7, though even some kindergarten groups have attended and enjoyed the experience.
Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month the observatory and hall is used by the members, and public from 7.30pm, but we can accommodate about a maximum of 60 children, 2 classes, if we start at 6pm. If we have available a 1st and 3rd Tuesday and a Thursday, Friday night, then we can work with larger groups with presentations and use four telescopes. Depending on the ages of children, we introduce all the planets, the basic solar system and our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Matariki is discussed and we explain and show with computer animation, how this regular, important annual feature works. Our major aim with these groups and classes is to stimulate their interest in the rapidly expanding science of astronomy, now that today it crosses over so many different science disciplines.
All children are FREE. Adults $5. Some groups prefer just to make a group donation. This can save time by avoiding entrance delays especially with large numbers. Even though the hall is heated, because it will be winter and the telescopes are in an outside environment, warm clothing should be worn. It will be dark when viewing so adults, teachers, parents need to monitor the children at all times.