Some budding astrophiles are over the moon after being awarded telescopes recently.
Emma Borrie (15), Anton Stuck (17) and Carter Andrew (15) were chuffed to be the recipients of high-end telescopes after winning an astronomy competition.
The competition was created by Damien McNamara and Kelly Harvey, and was originally intended to be a competition that would give two pupils the opportunity to fly over the Antarctic and view the aurora australis.
Months of planning went into the competition, including a charity ball which raised about $5000.
However, after the flight was cancelled, the competition was rejigged, and organisers decided the money raised would be spent on four telescopes as prizes.
Weston School was the fourth recipient of a telescope.
Some of the money raised was also donated to the North Otago Astronomical Society and has been used to pay for two outdoor dark-sky-friendly lights which will be installed outside the Oamaru Observatory.
Mr McNamara said a special moment for him came when he presented Anton with his telescope.
“He had no idea he was coming. He was so excited, I even got a hug,” he said.
Mr McNamara said he was still planning to take two pupils on the next aurora flight, which could take place in a year or two.
“Whenever the next flight is, we’ll be on it,” he said.
“It’s just a matter of time.”
The telescope project was something he wanted to continue in the future.
One of his goals was also to promote an interest in astronomy among youth throughout the Waitaki district.
“I think by targeting schools and getting as many people involved as possible, that would be quite doable,” Mr McNamara said.