16 August, 2012

The Dark Park

North of here, over the Lindis pass, spread across the awesome MacKenzie Country is the 'The Dark Park'.  That's what I call it anyway.  And in the middle of those endless kilometers of dark, I got my own picture of the moon.  With the assistance of some great technology.
My moon shot.  Through a Mt John telescope.
"The Dark Park" known otherwise as the Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve is a huge stretch of territory where artificial light is restricted by regulation.  It has been used for over 50 years as a base for looking at the stars.  Now it is the largest area in the world with restrictions on artificial lights, and many people go there just for that.

To be frank, given there was a moon like this, it was not as dark as many of the nights we get home at 'The Field of Gold'.   But at home we don't have a sixteen inch telescope under a dome.  So here at Mt John for the first time I saw the Rings around Saturn  !!!!   Myself - with my own eyes - for the the very first time - using one of those huge machines.  Magic.
Flying in.  A scattering of telescopes on top of Mount John.  Notice the vast landscape.
Mt John is used by many Universities from around the world.  Each has their own programme and facilities, which explains the apparent duplication and scatter of various domes.  See more about Mount John here    From here you can see sky which you can't from the northern hemisphere.
Notice the far mountains.  The Dark Park includes these as well.  It's a big park.
Tekapo Village.  Mt John in the immediate background.  Some real mountains behind.
A bunch of scientists from around the world.  They do need some facilities and places to live.
The big silver dome is Nagoya University Japan.  The biggest unit on the mountain.
The former American Military Facility.  Now University of Canterbury.
The Americans were here looking at Satellites, both American and Soviet and also the Apollo programme. 
A photo of my beloved.  The night we were on the mountain


  1. Liked the post today. So plain yet so beautiful. Jack

  2. Had to share this on facebook :-) Good to see home again.

  3. Thanks Di. The McKenzie is such a stunner isn't it. Kerry

  4. BTW if you click on the post title, you get a dedicated post URL ... to
    Then readers who come later won't need to hunt for the relevant post. (Your name on the comment is a clickable link to your blog, but you know that ...)

    This reminds me of going to Sutherland to SALT, but their darkness only applies around the observatory not in the tiny town. With a restaurant called Halley se Kom Eet (Halley's Come and Eat)

  5. Yes Diana. I had a look at SALT -thanks. Very similar. SAnd similar reasons for choice of location eg. Dry, clear air. But the Dark Park in the McKenzie region is for the whole region -- not just for the observatory. For example one could camp there, 50 kilometers from the observatory and not see a light. A magic thing in our modern world.

  6. Wonderful, I've been so wanting to get a photo of the moon lately. Yours is beautiful, and those shots of the area--wow!

    I've not visited for a while, how are your Italian Cypresses doing?

  7. Italian Cypress are a concern. They have turned yellow and are not thriving. They haven't died yet. It's been a year or so, but I feel sure they will die soon. 25 trees.
    Nutrition is one thought. But my main idea after some reading is they have been overwatered. So the irrigation is now shut off. We shall see.

  8. Wow to your moon shot, it must have been fascinating to use the telescope.

  9. Sorry to hear the Italian Cypress are not thriving. They seem to get along well without a lot of water here. Best of luck with them...


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