Education Programmes 

At Dark Sky Project, we offer a range of outdoor and indoor astronomy education options, suitable for both primary and secondary school students. 

Dark Sky Project Education tours are designed to offer primary and secondary school students a hands-on experience, centered around science and the stories of our Southern Skies.

For each of our experiences, the content covered can be adapted to suit the curriculum and learning objectives of the students attending.

Download the Dark Sky Project Education Programme (PDF) or see below for an outline of the available tours. 

 

OUR EDUCATION TOURS

Cowan's Hill Stargazing 

Exclusive stargazing experience from our private and sheltered Cowan’s Hill Observatory.

Nestled in a giant purpose-built crater to provide maximum wind protection and minimum light pollution, our expert astronomy guides will enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of our Southern Skies with our powerful optical telescopes.

Students will witness a number of objects in the pristine night sky. Viewing both through the naked eye, with the help of an impressive laser, and through two powerful telescopes (9.25”and 14”).

This tour is weather-dependent and will be cancelled in case of cloud cover or extreme winds. If conditions prevent us from taking students outdoors, you will be offered any of our indoor astronomy options (see below) with a partial or full refund.

Pricing:
10-20 people: $59 per student*
20-30 people: $54 per student*
30+ people: $49 per student*
* One student goes free of charge per group of 10
Duration: 1 hour (plus 15 minutes for transport)  |   Group Size: Minimum of 10, Maximum of 30 
Suitable for: Ages 5-18+    |    Contact us on groups@darkskyproject.co.nz for booking information. 

 

Mt John Summit Stargazing

Stargazing from the world-renown University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory.

An unparalleled learning experience about what lies above and witnessing objects through sophisticated viewing technologies. Students will witness a number of objects in the pristine night sky. Viewing both through the naked eye, with the help of an impressive laser, and through two powerful telescopes (9.25” and 16”).

This tour is weather-dependent and will be cancelled in case of cloud cover or extreme winds. If conditions prevent us from taking students outdoors, you will be offered any of our indoor astronomy options (see below) with a partial or full refund.

Pricing:
$99 per student*
* One student goes free of charge per group of 10
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes (plus 30 minutes for transport) 
Group Size: Minimum of 15, Maximum of 30 
Suitable for: Ages 7-18+   
Contact us on groups@darkskyproject.co.nz for booking information.  

Indoor Dark Sky Experience

A cultural outlook on astronomy, and a treat for the senses. 

The Dark Sky Experience merges science and tatai aroraki (Māori astronomy) in a ‘Big Bang’ of awe and inspiration.

With the use of fascinating multi-media installations, students will be educated and inspired by our guide through four different zones of our experience.

Students will have the rare opportunity to get up close to the newly restored Brashear telescope. As one of the world’s most famous Victorian telescopes it stands an impressive 8 metres tall and will ignite a passion for all budding astronomy enthusiasts.

Pricing:
$15 per student*
*1 student goes free of charge per group of 10. 
Group size: Minimum 10, Maximum 26 
Duration: 45 minutes - 1 hour
Suitable for ages: 5-18+
All indoor experiences take place in our all weather purpose-built experience zone at the Dark Sky Project Base. 
Contact us on groups@darkskyproject.co.nz for booking information. 

Indoor Astronomy Plus

A multi-sensory, deep dive into the science behind the stars. 

Using our theatre-sized astro-screen, our expert astronomy guides will take an in-depth look at the night sky. We will demonstrate celestial mechanics and explain core concepts of astronomy sure to fascinate and impress students.

We will take a closer look at the solar system, our place in the universe, the search for extra-terrestrial life and the life cycle of a star.

This is an interactive session where students will be encouraged to ask questions and delve deeper into the content covered by our expert guides.

Pricing: 
10-20 people: $29 per student*
20-30 people: $25 per student*
30+ people: $19 per student* 
* 1 student goes free of charge per group of 10.
Group size: Minimum 10, Maximum 26  |   Duration: 45 minutes - 1 hour
All indoor experiences take place in our all weather purpose-built experience zone at the Dark Sky Project Base. 
Suitable for ages: 5-18+ |  Contact us on groups@darkskyproject.co.nz for booking information. 

Indoor Astronomy Full Experience

No need to choose, enjoy the best of both worlds! 

Students will begin their Indoor Astronomy learning experience with a look at tatai aoraki (Māori Astronomy) through the Dark Sky Experience. 

After this cultural journey through the stars, students will then learn how this translates into a scientific understanding of the universe. Using our theatre-sized astro-screen to demonstrate celestial mechanics. 

Pricing:
$35 per student*
* 1 student goes free of charge per group of 10.
Group size:  Minimum 10, Maximum 26  |   Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
All indoor experiences take place in our all weather purpose-built experience zone at the Dark Sky Project Base. 
Suitable for ages: 7-18+ |  Contact us on groups@darkskyproject.co.nz for booking information. 

Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve 

Established in 2012, it is the largest Dark Sky Reserve in the world. 

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Church of the good shepherd from the side at night