Atop a windy mountain

During our recent trip to the south island of New Zealand, we managed to stop briefly at Mount John Observatory. A friend had recommended it, although we hadn’t originally been sure we’d have enough time to stop there on the drive from Queenstown to Christchurch. As it turned out, we did! It’s a much more sophisticated operation than I was expecting, and features five decently-sized optical telescopes operated by the University of Canterbury. A tourism group, Earth and Sky, runs tours both during the day and night (although we sadly didn’t have enough time to check out one of this tours this time!).

It turned out that it was incredibly difficult to film the pudding doing its thing due to really strong winds (a common feature of the observatory from what we heard). While trying to find a good place to shoot, we ran into one of the guides who works there (thanks Josh!) who awesomely let us into the dome containing the 1.8m MOA telescope (the biggest telescope on the mountain). I did also get a video of the pudding failing to stay upright in the windy conditions, we’ll see how that looks!

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