The observatory is set up at Lake Tekapo for academic purposes as a result of a grant to the University of Pennsylvania from the US National Science Foundation.
This was the chosen location as it met the criteria for an observatory site, which were:
- a large number of clear nights
- a dark sky not polluted by artificial light from any nearby town/ city
- a site reasonably close to power, water supplies and main roads and not too far from a major city.
Tekapo is known for its clear night skies and people from all over New Zealand and the world head over to view it. There are plenty of starlight tours that guide you though the observatory and many day tours inside the observatory.
For those of you who view this just as a research unit and are enrolled at UC in the Physics and Astronomy Department, you could book a telescope for your research if suitable. Follow this link for more details.