INDEPENDENT NEWS

Legendary telescope being brought back to life in Takapō

Published: Thu 6 Dec 2018 01:02 PM
Historical photo of the Brashear Telescope in situ Legendary telescope being brought back to life in Takapō
One of the world’s most famous Victorian telescopes will be restored and available for public viewing in Takapō (Lake Tekapo) after spending five decades in storage.
Once restored, the Brashear Telescope will be installed in an observatory dome in the new astronomy centre being built by the Earth & Sky Limited Partnership.
Dallas Poll, who is restoring the 124-year-old telescope, says, “To have an instrument of this calibre is an astounding privilege and it’s even more special that it will be in the heart of the world’s largest dark sky reserve.”
The Brashear Telescope was used in the late 1800s by Percival Lowell for his studies of Mars. It stands at a maximum of nine metres tall, has an 18-inch refracting lens, and is beautifully crafted of brass, iron, steel and wood.
In the 1960s the Brashear Telescope was gifted to the University of Canterbury by the University of Pennsylvania for installation at Mt John Observatory. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough funds to build a dome suitable to house the telescope so it was resigned to a life in storage.
In 2016, the University of Canterbury gifted the telescope to the Tomorrow’s Skies Charitable Trust to enable the long-held dream of restoration to be realised.
Graham Kennedy, of the Tomorrow’s Skies Charitable Trust, says, “Once restored, the Brashear will be the only Victorian telescope in a Gold Standard International Dark Sky Reserve. The importance of this project to astronomy is tremendous.”
The Trust is seeking support to restore and house the Brashear Telescope in a purpose-built observatory dome in the new astronomy centre.
“We’re inviting those with an interest in the Brashear and the astronomy community to share in the support of this project to ensure its success,” Mr Kennedy says.
The Trust’s initiative has the support of Zara Tindall, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II. She toured the University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory with Earth & Sky in December 2017.
“I hope that restoring the Brashear will inspire a new generation to learn about astronomy and reconnect with the stars,” Mrs Tindall says.
When the astronomy centre opens in autumn 2019, the Brashear Telescope will be free for the public to view during the day and anyone who wishes to get a closer look can be taken on a guided tour by Earth & Sky.
The world-class astronomy centre will inspire and educate visitors about the southern night sky from both a science and Māori perspective.
Anyone interested in support the project can contact brashear.telescope@gmail.com for more information or visit www.brasheartelescope.org
The Earth & Sky Limited Partnership is a joint venture between Ngāi Tahu Tourism and partners Graeme Murray and Hide Ozawa.
ENDS

Next in Business, Science, and Tech

NZ dollar jumps a cent as Reserve Bank wrong-foots traders
By: BusinessDesk
Four endangered sea lions dead in nets in one week
By: Forest And Bird
Falling battery costs may outstrip Transpower projections
By: BusinessDesk
SAFE applauds Government decision to cancel Saudi sheep deal
By: SAFE For Animals
Official Cash Rate unchanged at 1.75 percent
By: Reserve Bank
Orr dovish but not as dovish as the market expected
By: BusinessDesk
Reserve Bank pushes out the likely date of next OCR move
By: BusinessDesk
RBNZ capital plan could see real-time bank stress test: KPMG
By: BusinessDesk
Inflation expectations ease in Reserve Bank survey
By: BusinessDesk
Wages rising faster than house price rises
By: New Zealand Government
Further evidence of weakening economic outlook
By: New Zealand National Party
RBNZ bets against Labour’s economy
By: ACT New Zealand
RBNZ: KiwiBuild won’t contribute to housing stock in 2019
By: ACT New Zealand
Sea lion captures in the southern squid fishery
By: Fisheries New Zealand
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media