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Star Gazers Take Flight: The Reopening Of The Stardome Observatory & Planetarium Zeiss Telescope

Stardome Observatory & Planetarium is delighted to announce the long-awaited reopening of the EWB Zeiss Telescope to the public from April 12, 2024.

The reopening follows a challenging period marked by an act of theft last year, where the Zeiss telescope's dome suffered extensive damage when the copper roof was stolen by thieves. A blow for space lovers young and old, this story has a happy ending as after a year of intensive work, the copper roof has now been repaired, giving manuhiri the opportunity to return to stargazing through one of the most significant telescopes in Aotearoa.

The total cost to repair the dome was a whopping $680,000 and has included a full mechanical and structural refurbishment. Alongside this, rigorous permanent security and monitoring has been put in place.

Named in honour of its benefactor, Mrs. Edith Winstone Blackwell MBE, the EWB Zeiss Telescope is publicly available thanks to her generosity more than half a century ago. As one of only approximately 25 of its kind worldwide, and the largest publicly accessible telescope in the North Island, the Zeiss has had the gaze of an estimated million-plus Kiwis since it was installed in 1967.

"The restoration of the Zeiss telescope dome reflects the tautoko of our community for the work that we do at Stardome and a shared love of space," remarked Victoria Travers, Chief Executive of Stardome. "We are immensely grateful for the aroha we received when the theft occurred, as well as the support to restore the Zeiss to its full glory. In particular, this would not have been possible without the significant support of Tātaki Auckland Unlimited (TAU). We can’t wait to welcome manuhiri back to experience the universe through the telescope once again."

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Stardome Observatory & Planetarium has been a hub for astronomy and now tātai arorangi (Māori astronomy) since its establishment in 1967. In addition to the Zeiss telescope, Stardome offers a range of events and learning experiences, including immersive planetarium shows and educational resources. With the growth of the space sector in New Zealand, organisations like Stardome play a crucial role in inspiring the next generation of astronomers and innovators.

Viewings through the telescope offer glimpses of deep-space phenomena accompanied by expert commentary. Public access to the Zeiss telescope is available through ticketed sessions on Friday and Saturday nights, weather permitting.

Bookings are essential – to enquire and book visit Stardome Observatory & Planetarium's website or call 09 624 1246.

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