Welcome to Earth & Sky - Window to the Universe!
Experience the wonders of the universe with Earth & Sky. Join us on one of our famous Night-time Observatory Tours at one of two dedicated locations in the heart of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. With tours at Mt. John University Observatory and Cowan’s Observatory on offer, you’ll have plenty of programs from which to choose. Let us sweep you up in the excitement. We're all about learning and sharing our enthusiasm for the universe, and the science that gets us there. Based in Lake Tekapo we try to provide both education and fun for those learning about the stars and our place in the universe! And what better place to set your imagination free and your spirits soaring skyward than the award-wining Astro-Cafe. Visit the Cafe [click here for cafe details] and be the envy of all as you tuck into homemade delights while soaking up the unrivaled views.
Events & Promotions
The Celebration of Qixi Jie
For our wintertime in New Zealand we have planned out an event to celebrate the Chinese festival Qixi Jie- it is sure to keep the mind active, and the heart racing!
We have just celebrated the Japanese version of the festival, Tanabata, which was a lot of fun; if you want to check out some of the group shots, head over to our flickr account.
Here at Earth and Sky we couldn't resist the opportunity to celebrate a festival that is so closely linked with the stars, especially during the winter when the Milky Way is at its finest. This year, on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of August we will be celebrating Qixi Jie during our Mt. John Observatory Tours.*
Because of this legend (if you are unfamiliar with it, check out the story!), many young Chinese couples now treat this festival as a parallel to the Western tradition of Valentine's.
There will be stars, photography, live music, free post cards and, of course, what would any sort of Valentine's celebration be without chocolate.
This Chinese festival originates from the ancient legend of the weaver girl and the cowherd. There are many variations of this love story, however it is usually told something like this:
There was a beautiful fairy (represented by the star Vega) who lived in the celestial Heavens, she wove beautiful clouds next to the banks of the Silver River (the Milky Way). The immortal weaver girl fell in love with a young human cowherd (represented by the star Altair); they secretly married and had two young children, which are carried by the cowherd in the night sky (represented by the two fainter stars on either side of Altair). However, when the Queen Mother of the Western Skies discovered this, she sent the fairy back to heaven, separating the two.The weaver girl wept so much that the magpies of the world took pity and created a bridge, with their wings, across the Milky Way to reunite the lovers. Even the Queen took pity on her and allowed them to meet once year on the evening of the seventh day of the seventh month.
In Chinese-Manadrin the festival 'Qixi Jie' is pronounced as: Chee- shee- Jee- ehh.
In Chinese culture, Qixi Jie is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar. This year it falls on the second of August.