Wellington Astronomical Society

Wellington Astronomical Society


The next WAS meeting will be held on

Wednesday 5 April 2017 at 7:30 pm

at Carter Observatory,

Upland Rd,



The Who, What, and Why of Variable Stars.

Presenter: Aline Homes WAS, VSS.
Introduction to the WAS Research Astronomy Group.

Presenter: Roland Idaczyk WAS.

In a change to our usual format, we have not one but two speakers at out April meeting.

What makes stars variable and why observe them? This presentation provides a brief introduction to the main types of variable stars and how to observe them, with particular emphasis on those most suitable for amateur observers. It also discusses why, in these days of large telescopes, satellites and all-sky surveys, observations by amateurs with minimal or modest equipment are still important.

Dr. Aline Homes is a geologist and palaeobotanist with the School of Geography, Environmental and Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington. She has been a member of WAS for well over ten years and has just stepped down after several years on council, including a term as president. She is a Foundation Member of Variable Stars South and is currently leader of the Semi-regulars Project. Along with others, she has published a number of articles in the VSS Newsletter.

Roland Idaczyk will introduce the WAS Research Astronomy Group (WAS-RAG) to the wider WAS membership and encourage more members to partake in research activities. There will be a brief overview of which kind of research projects WAS-RAG members are involved in and what research activities we may want to engage in. We will also look at ways of how we can support and guide new collaborators.

Roland has been fascinated by astronomy for almost fifty years, a WAS member for over ten years and holds a Master of Astronomy degree from James Cook University.


The next observing evening date will be:
Saturday 1 April 2017. Global Astronomy Month Star Party.

Tawa College. Start at 7:00pm.

Text Chris Monigatti on his mobile 021 890 222 if you want to attend.
For other Astronomy related events see our events page.

Meeting schedule

Every month except January, we have meetings with talks on astronomy topics from people who know what they're talking about. Talks are usually given with the assumption that the audience may have little or no experience in the topic.
For 2017 meetings are scheduled for the first Wednesday of each month starting at 7:30 pm.

Details of each meeting can be found in the newsletter posted to members shortly before the meeting. They will also usually appear on this page of the website.


Map showing where regular meeting
        place is

Even if you're not a member, you are welcome to come along and see what it's like. Meetings usually begin at 7:30pm and are held on the first Wednesday of each month at Carter Observatory, Upland Rd, Wellington. This is subject to change, so be sure to check the newsletter, or call / email a member of the WAS council.


There is limited parking outside the Carter Observatory and the Dominion Observatory, accessible from Salamanca Road. However, it will be necessary for most people to park in Upland Road or Salamanca Road, and walk through the Botanical Gardens to the Observatory. If you are parking in Upland Road, you can now use the Skyline parking area shown on the map.

How to get to Carter Observatory. (visually)

Click on the thumbnails to open a window showing a larger version of each image.

Upland Road Cable Car Terminus

This photo shows the Cable Car Terminus at the end of Upland Road. The entrance to the Observation Area is to the left of the Terminus, partly obscured by trees. The entrance to the Skyline parking area is on the right, in the foreground.

Entrance to Oservation Area

This photo shows the entrance to the Observation Area. The Cable Car Terminus is on the right. You can also enter the Observation Area directly from the Cable Car Terminus, if you have come up in the Cable Car.

Path from Observation Area

Now follow the path straight ahead from the Observation Area. There are several helpful signs directing you to the Carter Observatory.

Approaching Carter Oservatory

And here we are. The Carter Observatory is ahead of you. A path up to the Thomas King telescope is on your right, just out of the picture.

Entrance from Salamance Road

This photo shows the entrance from Salamanca Road. From here it is possible to drive up to the parking at Carter, and at the Dominion Observatory. The parking is limited, and things can get awkward should you encounter another vehicle coming the other way. Unless you have heavy gear, or someone of limited mobility, with you, it will be better to park in the street and walk up.

Past the Met Office

The driveway runs up past the Met Office. The sign directs you to Carter Observatory.

Driveway turns Right and Up

Some way up, the driveway turns right up the hill towards the Thomas King Observatory. A walkway carries on ahead. Do not follow it, even on foot.

Top of The Hill

This is where the turnoff takes you. The Dominion Observatory parking is on the right. The cycleway to the Observation Area goes to the left. The Carter Observatory is straight ahead through the gap between the Thomas King site and the meteorological enclosure.

Future meetings

Because organisation and reorganisation happens continuously, the topics, speakers and dates of these meetings are subject to change. Please check the newsletter before the meetings for official details.

For other Astronomy related events see our events page.

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