Telescope Viewing

How long has it been since you looked through a telescope?  There really is nothing like seeing a deep-space object or one of the planets in our Solar System with your own eyes.  A great buzz for kids and adults alike – and there’s no experience required!  Our knowledgeable sky-guides, the Stardome telescope team, will locate the gems deep in the night sky for you.

Courtyard Telescope

See the real thing!

Our Telescopes are out every night subject to suitable sky conditions, and except Mondays when Stardome is closed. Courtyard telescopes are operated by experienced staff who can show you beautiful stars, planets, star clusters and nebulae.  Bring your smart phone and take your own picture of what you can see through the telescope!

Telescopes are complimentary after the 7pm & 8pm shows over Winter and after the 8pm shows over Summer.

Zeiss Telescope

Take a private tour of the skies.

Take a closer look at some stunning deep space objects through Stardome’s largest telescope, the Zeiss, in the beautiful and historic copper observatory dome. Open for public presentations every Thursday, Friday and Saturday subject to suitable sky conditions, for individuals and groups of up to 15 people.

On a clear night you can expect to see four or five deep-space objects, accompanied by engaging commentary from one of our team of presenters. An unforgettable experience for adults and children aged 8 and over.

Zeiss telescope viewings are available as an optional extra after the ‘Night Sky’ show at 8pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, for an extra $10 per person.

Call us on 09 624 1246 to book the Zeiss

History of the Zeiss Telescope

The Edith Winstone Blackwell 0.5m Zeiss Telescope is our most powerful telescope available for public viewing. It is situated in a dome which opens up to the night sky. The main eyepiece used in the Zeiss gives a magnification of about 208 times. Manufactured by Carl Zeiss of Jena, East Germany, the Edith Winstone Blackwell Zeiss Telescope was installed at the Auckland Observatory in early 1967, and is one of about 20 such telescopes built.

Telescope Type: Cassegrain
Diameter of Primary Mirror: 0.5m
Effective Focal Length: 6.65m (focal ratio F13.3)

The very delicate reflective coating is aluminium deposited as a vapour in a vacuum chamber. It is only a few atoms thick, but when fresh reflects about 92% of incident light. The mount stands on a massive concrete pier beneath the floor that has three legs that go a further 6m down to solid rock (volcanic lava). The telescope tube weighs about 500kg; thankfully, so does the counterweight. The total weight of the telescope and mounting from the top of the concrete pier is 2,300kg.