Mt. John Observatory is located 146 miles (235 km) from Christchurch, New Zealand. Mt. John Observatory, part of the University of Canterbury, is a focal point of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. Stargazers can book a tour of the observatory through Dark Sky Project, an education center based in Lake Tekapo. Daytime tours of the facilities are available, but most come for the nighttime tours. Visitors at night are first shown the remarkably clear sky outside the domes, as the observatory is located in the Mackenzie Basin, one of the driest climates in New Zealand. Inside the domes, visitors have a chance to peer through the university’s telescopes, which are regularly used in astronomical research.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.