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If you encountered any problems please do not hesitate to contact the treasurer; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone/text 021794443.

 

President:

John Drummond

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Address:
P O Box,
Patutahi 4045

Immediate Past President:

John Hearnshaw

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Address:
Department Physics & Astronomy
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800,
Christchurch 8140

Vice President:

Nicholas Rattenbury

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Address:
The Department of Physics,
The University of Auckland,
38 Princes St, Auckland.

Secretary:

Nichola Van der Aa

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Address:
85 Douglas street,
Whakatane 3120.

Treasurer:

Simon Lowther

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Address:
19 Cape Vista Crescent,
Pukekohe 2120

Councillors:

Steve Butler

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Address:
30 Hoffman Court,
Invercargill 9810

Bob Evans

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Address:
15 Taiepa Rd,
Otatara RD9,
Invercargill 9879

Sergei Gulyaev

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Address:
120 Mayoral Drive,
Auckland, 1010.

Peter Jaquiery

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Address:
31 Wright St,
Dunedin 9010

Orlon Petterson

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Address:
Department Physics & Astronomy
University of Canterbury,
Private Bag 4800,
Christchurch 8140

Karen Pollard

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Address:
Department Physics & Astronomy
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800,
Christchurch 8140

Glen Rowe

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Address:
23 Stanhope Grove,
Korokoro
Lower Hutt 5012

Gary Sparks

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Address:
67 Meeanee Road,
Taradale,
Napier 4112

Advisor on Space Law to RASNZ

Dr. Maria Pozza

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Address:
Lane Neave
141 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch 8013
PO Box 2331, Christchurch 8140

Fellows of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand

Mr W H Allen
Prof E Budding
Dr G W Christie
Mr R W Evans
Mr A C Gilmore
Prof. J B Hearnshaw
Ms P M Kilmartin
Mr B R Loader
Assoc. Prof. K R Pollard
Prof. D. J. Sullivan
Mr W S G Walker
Assoc. Prof. P. C. M. Yock
Ms J McCormick
Mr. S Butler

Honorary Members

Thomas Richards MA(Hons VUW), DPhil(Oxon)
Brian Warner BSc(Hons), PhD, DSc(London), MA, DSc(Oxon), Assoc RAS, FRSSA, MASSA

For links to local astronomical societies please see our affiliated societies pages.

General Astronomy Websites

Heavens Above - ISS tracking and prediction site
Space Weather - News and information about the Earth-Sun environment
Cloudy Nights - Astronomy Forum (US Focus)
Ice in Space - Astronomy Forum (Australian Focus)

Research Organisations

IAU (International Astronomical Union)
μFUN (Microlensing Followup Network)
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
ESA (European Space Agency)
ESO (European Southern Observatories)
AAVSO American Association of Variable Star Observers
AURA (Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy)
 

Research/Observing Assistance

SIMBAD (Astronomical Database, bibliography, cross-identifacations)
Aladin (Interactive Sky Atlas)
Astrophysics Data System (Digital library portal)
arXiv (Repository of scientific paper preprints)
CBAT (Central Beurau for Astronomical Telegrams)
VSX (Variable Star Index)
VSP (Variable Star Plotter)

NZ tertiary astronomy courses

Free astronomy software and tools

Stellarium - Open source planetarium software
Carte Du Ceil - Planetarium software with advanced cataloges and features
AAVSO Software Directory - Collection of tools for recording and analysis of Variable stars
NinePlanets - A collection of many astronomy software titles for all operating systems

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The Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund was set up under the will of the late Julie Annie Tomlinson of Nelson for the purposes of promoting the study of astronomy in New Zealand. The fund is a memorial to William Tomlinson of St Peter's School, York, (grandfather of Julie Tomlinson) and William Tomlinson (Julie Tomlinson's father), both of whom were Fellows of the Royal Astronomical Society, and were connected by marriage with Sir Isaac Newton.

Applications may be made for any projects or ventures which promote the progress of astronomy in New Zealand. Council of the RASNZ considers each application in accordance with the objectives of the Trust Deed and makes recommendations to the Trustees of the Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund accordingly. The Trustees of the Fund have the final decision as to whether or not a grant is made.

Applications will normally only be considered from members of RASNZ, its Affiliated Societies, recognised amateur astronomers in New Zealand or students of astronomy at recognised institutions.

Applications should be made on the official application form which can be obtained from the Executive Secretary of RASNZ from whom further information is available. Email enquiries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About the Gifford-Eiby Memorial Fund:

This fund is available only for use by Affiliated Societies and RASNZ members and exists to sponsor the visits of lecturers or instructors in astronomy to regions throughout New Zealand. Grants from this fund are made to pay all, or a proportion, of the cost of the lecturer's travel expenses. This scheme makes available to local societies quality speakers who would otherwise be unavailable for financial reasons.

RASNZ maintains a list of speakers which may be used by Affiliated Societies when looking for speakers on various astronomical topics.

Conditions applying to grants from the Gifford-Eiby fund

The benefits of the Gifford-Eiby Memorial Lectureship Fund are available to any Affiliated Society or group of RASNZ members that can guarantee an attendance of at least twenty people at any lecture or at least four people at any instructional class organised under the scheme.

Lecturers appointed are to be known as Gifford-Eiby Memorial Lecturers of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand, and are to be so identified by the Chairman at meetings and in all publicity of the meetings.

RASNZ pays part or all of the return fares by public transport for distances up to 800 km each way. Reasonable incidental travel expenses for the lecturer may be met by the Gifford-Eiby fund on receipt of a report and account of expenditure by the lecturer. These are based on public transport costs. Receipts and/or ticket stubs should be presented.

Affiliated Societies benefitting agree to:

  1. provide accommodation of a standard acceptable to the lecturer.
  2. pay the cost of any travel in excess of 800 km.
  3. acknowledge at any Gifford-Eiby supported lecture the Gifford-Eiby Lectureship Scheme and the RASNZ during the introduction to the talk and in any publicity advertising the talk. A suitable acknowledgement would be:
    "This lecture is being brought to you with the assistance of the Gifford-Eiby Memorial Lectureship Scheme administered by the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand."

    This acknowledgement should be preceded by a short introduction of the lecturer and their field of expertise.

Applications should be made on the official application form as early as possible, preferably at least three months prior to the intended date of the lecture. Applications forms can be obtained from the Executive Secretary, RASNZ from whom further information is available. Email enquiries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Murray Geddes Memorial Prize

Murray Geddes The Murray Geddes Memorial Prize is awarded by the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand to a person or persons for contributions to astronomy in New Zealand. The award is usually made annually. The recipient of the prize must be a New Zealand resident but need not be a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand. Normally a person may only receive the award once.

RASNZ By-laws governing the Murray Geddes Memorial Prize

  1. The Murray Geddes Memorial Prize shall be awarded to a person or persons at intervals of not more than five years, nor less than one year, for contributions to astronomy in New Zealand.
  2. The recipient of the prize shall be a resident of New Zealand and need not be a member of the Society.
  3. Only in exceptional circumstances shall the award be made to the same person more than once.
  4. Council may annually, at such time as it may decide, invite nominations for the prize from whatever sources it deems appropriate. Nominations shall remain valid for three years from the date of nomination. Additional information in support of a nomination may be accepted during the three years.
  5. Council shall have the sole decision in making the award and its decision shall be made not less than two months before the date of the Annual General Meeting.
  6. The prize shall consist of goods to a value which Council shall from time to time decide, and shall be presented with a certificate suitably inscribed with the recipient's name and the signature of the President, or Vice President. The prize and certificate shall be presented, whenever possible, at the Annual General Meeting.
  7. The name of each new recipient shall be published in the Journal of the Society.

Past Murray Geddes Memorial Prize recipients.

1945 Mr A F Jones
1946 Mr D L Snelling
1947 Mr R D Adams
1948 Mr G G Couling
1949 Mr D C Berry and Mr J Stitchbury
1950 Mr F M Bateson
1951 Miss J Grey and Mr D A Philpott
1952 Mr G T Railton
1953 Mr M Hedges
1954 Mr W D Anderson
1955 Mr R F Joyce
1956 Mr R B Orton
1957 Mr L R H Beaumont
1958 Mr J G Gow
1959 Mr A J Doig and Mr T J Richards
1960 Mr K D Adams
1961 Mr W H Ward
1962 Mr A C Gilmore
1963 Mr E L Morley
1964 Dr C D Ellyet
1965 Mr C B Michie
1966 Mr P A Read
1967 Mr A J Thomas
1968 Mr C P Fisk
1969 Mr C H Rowe
1970 Dr P J Edwards
1971 Mr B F Marino and Mr W S G Walker
1972 Mr W J H Fisher
1973 Mr M Clark and Mr G R Nankivell
1974 Mr G S Smith
1975 Mr G Hall-Jones
1976 Mr L A C Warner
1977 Mr & Mrs W S Thrush
1978 no award
1979 Mr J E Morgan and Mr J H Duthie
1980 Mr F P Andrews
1981 Mr W H Allen
1982 Ms P M Kilmartin
1983 Mr G L Blow
1984 Mr R R D Austin
1985 Dr J B Hearnshaw
1986 Mr D J MacLennan
1987 Mr G S Smith
1988 Mr J D Whelan
1989 Mr Jack Dunlop (Napier) and Mr G Loftus
1990 Mr R N Campbell
1991 Mr H Williams
1992 Mr R McIntosh
1993 Mr R Sutherland
1994 Mr R Evans
1995 Mr A Dodson
1996 Mr G Hudson
1997 Dr J Baggaley
1998 no award
1999 Mr N Rumsey
2000 Mrs P A and Mr B R Loader
2001 Mr D Goodman
2002 Ms Marilyn Head
2003 Mr M Bos
2004/5 Dr Albert and Mrs Carolyn Jones
2006 Ms Jennie McCormick
2007 Mr R Rea
2008 No award
2009 Mr R Hall
2010 Mr S Butler
2011 Mr M Collins
2012 Mr. Stuart Parker
2013 Dr. Grant Christie
2014 Mr. Chris Monigatti

What does the Royal Astronomical Society do and what are the benefits of joining?

The RASNZ Annual Report is a good place to get a full summary of what the Society does.

Members receive 11 monthly e-mails and 4 issues of the Southern Stars which members may download from the member's area of the website.

Whilst an individual member may benefit from only some of the following, your support of the Society will enable it to remain viable so it can continue to provide services at a national level without which astronomy in New Zealand would be so much the poorer.

The Society's premier event each year is the Annual RASNZ Conference, this provides a valuable opportunity to showcase the latest research by our professional astronomers alongside presentations on a wide variety of topics.

The Society's web-site is a valuable resource for astronomical information, given that it gets nearly 250,000 visits per year it would appear that it is very popular. The web-site has recently had a major upgrade and now provides special areas for members use and areas to facilitate the running of the society and its various activities.

The society's member body status with the Royal Society provides the opportunity as required to comment on astronomical related matters at both the government level and internationally through the International Astronomical Union.

RASNZ is fortunate to have access to the Kingdon-Tomlinson Bequest. Through this, many individual and societies have benefited from grants made to assist with equipment purchases and projects that promote astronomy in NZ.

We also have two lectureship schemes. The Gifford-Eiby covers travel expenses for speakers to travel within NZ to present a lecture or run a workshop to a society or group of members. A more recent initiative is the RASNZ Lecture Trust which enables an international astronomer to be brought to NZ to deliver a number of Beatrice-Tinsley Lectures.

We encourage our affiliated societies to take advantage of the services we offer as a way of providing additional resources/opportunities to benefit their members. For example, during 2012 the society sourced and distributed safe solar viewers for unaided viewing of the Transit of Venus and a partial eclipse of the Sun.

The Society has a number of sections (Variable Stars, Occultations, Comet & Meteors, Aurora & Solar, Astrophotography) that support and encourage their members' observational endeavours and interests.

In addition there are three groups that promote other initiatives. The Professional Astronomers' Group attends to the needs of the professional community within NZ. Indeed one of the special strengths of the RASNZ is its strong relationship with our professional astronomers. The Education Group is developing plans to increase an awareness of astronomy within both the educational and public arenas. The Dark Sky Group is working hard to promote the benefits of minimising light pollution and preserving our wonderful night skies. RASNZ is providing support to the initiative to have a Starlight Reserve designated in the Tekapo area and also for the International Starlight Conference being held there in June of this year.

I hope that this summary gives some idea of what a member "gets" in return for their subscription. Just as the advertisement for a certain card says, some of these benefits are priceless.

The sections and groups of the RASNZ cater for people with similar observing or other astronomy related interests. For further information about a particular section please contact the director of the section at the addresses given below.
Astrobiology Group Astrophotgraphy Comet and Meteor Dark Sky Group
Education Group Occultation Professional Astronomers Group Space Weather
Variable Stars

Astrobiology Group

The Astrobiology Group of the RASNZ has been formed to encourage, help, collect and publish astrobiology research from New Zealand.

Astrobiology, is the study of life’s potential in the Universe. It also studies the origin, evolution and history of life on Earth. Astrobiology is a topical subject, innovative and interdisciplinary.

Astrobiology unites physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, molecular biology, ecology, planetary science, geography, and geology to study “anything and everything about life on Earth in order to understand how life might arise and survive elsewhere in the Universe”.

New Zealand is considered by international astrobiology practitioners to be an excellent field site. For example, there are unique extremophiles in the hot springs in Rotorua, Lake Taupo area and we can easily access the KT Boundary or the Dry Valleys in Antarctica. There is a network of scientists throughout New Zealand with excellent credentials in most of the interdisciplinary fields which make astrobiology. Their skills in microbiology, ecology, biosecurity, physics, astronomy, radio astronomy and geology, only to count a few, represent an accessible yet rich knowledge base, with local expertise. You do not have to be a RASNZ member to be part of the Astrobiology Group but we would encourage you to do so and support the great work of the Society.

Web site:

Astrobiology New Zealand is the official web presence of the group. You may also subscribe to the mailing list from the site.

Contact:

Haritina Mogoșanu 31
E Patanga Crescent,
Thorndon
Wellington

Email:

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Astrophotography Section

Director: John Drummond
21 Marion Drive,
Gisborne,
New Zealand

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The formation of the section reflects the large increase in interest in astronomical imaging which has developed recently and is open to all who have an interest in this field.

Anyone interested in joining the section should contact the director by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by post for further information.


Comet and Meteor

Director: John Drummond
21 Marion Drive
Gisborne

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RASNZ Dark Sky Group

Contact: Mr Steve Butler
30 Hoffman Court,
Waikiwi,
Invercargill 9810,
New Zealand.

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RASNZ is actively involved promoting efficient night lighting to preserve dark skies. At the beginning of 2005 it became a signatory to the NZ Urban Design Protocol to promote the efficient and effective use of lighting and to assist in the recovery and preservation of the urban view of the night sky.

Steve Butler has developed a set of web site pages as part of the RASNZ site. Those interested in preserving our dark skies should visit the RASNZ dark sky site. The site is still undergoing development, so regular additions and changes are likely.


Education Group

Convener: Ron Fisher

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Website: www.astredu.nz

The Education Group are a team of educators from around New Zealand who are dedicated to supporting both students and teachers of astronomy. Our website hosts an extensive list of resources and information and we welcome contributions by way of feedback and news articles from anyone with an interest in astronomy education.


Occultation Section

Director: Steve Kerr
P O Box 2241,
Wellington,
New Zealand

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Web site: Occultation Section

The RASNZ Occultation Section exists to promote occultation observing within New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific.

Details of recent successful observations of occultations of stars by Minor Planets.

Lunar occultations occur when the Moon passes in front of stars or planets; planetary occultations occur when planets or minor planets (asteroids) pass in front of stars. Timing the instant at which an occultation occurs provides important information about the position of objects in space. In the case of minor planet occultations, it provides the only direct means of measuring an asteroid's diameter.

The Section provides general information and assistance to new observers. It publishes quarterly News Circulars, and a series of Circulars containing predictions of minor planet occultations. Membership of the Section is open to anyone - you do not need to be a member of the RASNZ. For further information contact the Director.


Space Weather Section

Director: Damien McNamara
16 Harlech St,
Oamaru, 9400.

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Web site: Space Weather Section

The Section exists to help educate people about the Aurora Australis, our Sun and its effects on Earths atmosphere (Space Weather).

Space Weather Prediction is how we monitor our Sun and how it effects the atmosphere through its solar winds, and resulting Aurora displays, whether it be an Aurora Australis in the Southern Hemisphere, or an Aurora Borealis in the Northern Hemisphere.

On the sections webpage you can find a number of links to live Space Weather Prediction data, from all over the world, including right here in New Zealand.

The section also has a public Facebook page where I update current alerts, and potential activity, along with solar observations, links of interest and other aurora related research.


Variable Stars South

Director: Mark Blackford (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
 
Website: Variable Stars South

The Variable Star Section, as it was formerly known, was founded by the late Dr Frank Bateson, OBE, in 1927 and became the recognised centre for southern variable star research. Now under new direction, it is expanding vigorously into the newer technologies of CCD and DSLR cameras, even spectroscopy.

VSS invites astronomers who would like to pursue variable star research to join VSS (see website) and take part in our research projects. You do not have to be a member of the RASNZ to join VSS. We are entirely an Internet-based group, in order to foster an international presence. If you have a telescope, or binoculars, or just a naked eye, there is variable star research waiting to be done, and VSS will assist you to learn the techniques and produce scientifically valuable results.

RASNZ Membership Subscription and Southern Stars

Your RASNZ subscription provides the major part of the funds required to run RASNZ. Expenses include publishing Southern Stars, supporting Affiliated Societies, hosting this web site, supporting the various groups and sections and supporting astronomy throughout New Zealand in general. See Glen Rowe's description of member benefits for further details.

The Southern Stars is RASNZ's official journal. Members may choose to receive just the electronic journal or, for a modest cost, both electronic and printed versions of the Journal.

Subscription 


Astronomical Yearbook

The Astronomical Yearbook is a handbook of stars and planets in the southern skies is published by the Auckland Observatory. Its cost may be included with your RASNZ subscription.

Include the Astronomical Yearbook with your RASNZ subscription ($20 NZD).


Education Group donation

The RASNZ Education group supports astronomy education, aiming at teachers and students as well as regional astronomical societies and the general public. Donations support operating the group including paying for hosting their website.

Donation Amount 


GE donation

The Gifford-Eiby Memorial Fund sponsors visiting astronomy lecturers and instructors Affiliated Societies for lectures and seminars by assisting with travel expenses.

Donation Amount 


Dark Sky Group donation

The Dark Sky Group advocates for appropriate lighting to preserve dark skies. There is a wealth of related information in the Dark Sky web pages and support available from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Donation Amount 


Special purposes donation

You may wish to donate to provide general financial support to the RASNZ, or to donate funds for some specific purpose not provided for above. When you make a Special purposes donation you may care to email the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to tell us what the donation is intended for. You may use the "Donate" button at the bottom of the page if you wish to donate an arbitrary amount and specify a purpose at the same time.

Donation Amount 


Thank you for your assistance with RASNZ's mission to promote and investigate astronomy and related fields.