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July 08 , 2009

Exploring the History of New Zealand Astronomy

Trials, Tribulations, Telescopes and Transits


Dr. Orchiston is a foremost authority on the subject of New Zealand astronomy, and here are the collected papers of his fruitful studies in this area, including both those published many years ago and new material. The papers herein review traditional Maori astronomy, examine the appearance of nautical astronomy practiced by Cook and his astronomers on their various stopovers in New Zealand during their three voyagers to the South Seas, and also explore notable nineteenth century New Zealand observatories historically, from significant telescopes now located in New Zealand to local and international observations made during the 1874 and 1882 transits of Venus and the nineteenth and twentieth century preoccupation of New Zealand amateur astronomers with comets and meteors.

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New Zealand astronomy has a truly rich history, extending from the Maori civilization in pre-European times through to the years when explorers and navigators discovered the region, up to pioneering research on the newly emerging field of radio astronomy during WWII and in the immediate post-war years. A complete survey of a neglected but rich national astronomical history, this does the subject full and comprehensive justice. 

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