Astronomy in the South

The southern sky at night, framed by silhouetted mountains is a sight to behold, so do take the time to look up. You will not be disappointed.

As the sun sets on your day and the photos taken have been shown around, the approaching evening at Queenstown Country Lodge can hold more than just fine dining and sampling the world famous pinot noir from local vineyards.

Away from the light pollution found in town and cities, the Lodge is the perfect place to hear stories about and explore the amazing southern night sky. Armed with a green laser pointer, John will guide you across the heavens pointing out the Southern Cross and Pointers, explain how to navigate by them and then look north towards the constellations we share with our Northern Hemisphere friends….Orion, The Pleiades, Canis Major, Gemini, Taurus and a host of other interesting astronomical attractions.

The night sky becomes a dense cloud of stars as the last fading light of the sun finally goes. The millions of light points take your breath away. Those from the Northern Hemisphere will not believe how spectacular the Milky Way is down under. During the 2012 autumn we also have a number of planets to focus on….Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter all march across the sky.

Now is the time to enjoy the Lodge’s  8 inch reflector telescope. The wonders of the night sky take on a whole new look…rings around Saturn, the moons of Jupiter and the amazing star clusters and the various nebula………….and so many unanswered questions.

All visitors to the Southern Lakes District should take the time in the evening to gaze skywards. Find a spot away from street lights and  let your eyes adjust to the dark (takes about 10 minutes). Remember, the night sky looks far more spectacular when there is no moon in the sky although if the moon is up, binoculars will allow you to explore this celestial object.  Good viewing.

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