Elaine P. Snowden Astronomy School

Important Notice! Due to the national Alert Level 4 Status in reaction to COVID-19 The Elaine P. Snowden Astronomy Camp 2020 has been CANCELED

The Elaine P. Snowden Astronomy School is a six-day event for Year 13 students interested in studying Astronomy or Physics at university.

In 2020, the programme will run from 19-24 April, with a mix of seminars and practical work. Students will travel to UC's Mt John Observatory at Tekapo and explore our cosmic neighbourhood with modern astronomical instruments. Back on the University of Canterbury's Ilam campus, they'll learn about the universe past, present and future, the life cycles of stars, planet exploration, extraterrestrial life and more. A highlight of the camp is meeting fellow students with the same astronomical interests and making new friends.

Key details

Places are limited to 20 participants each year. Applications from Year 13 students are favoured, but we will consider applications from exceptional Year 12 students.

Cost: There are no costs for the camp, as the camp is generously funded by a donation from a private sponsor.

Transport costs: Transport costs to and from Christchurch are included in the sponsorship (there is no cost to successful applicants).

Accommodation: Students will stay in the Rochester and Rutherford Halls of Residence during their stay in Christchurch and will stay for 2 nights in Tekapo to visit the University of Canterbury’s Mt John Observatory.

Applications close: Monday, 2 March 2020

Eligibility: Acceptance is based on an online written application from students and NCEA Physics and Maths results


Thanks to a generous donation from a private sponsor, the Elaine P. Snowden Astronomy School is offered free of charge.

Accommodation, meals, transport during the camp and materials are provided. It is recommended that students bring along additional spending money for any snacks, souvenirs and the like.


Students will be provided with accommodation during their stay in Tekapo and the UC campus.


As the University of Canterbury is responsible for the health and safety of the participants, students may not travel off campus or away from the group unless accompanied by a postgraduate student or staff member.

All students must follow any rules and instructions given to them by designated staff and postgraduate students.


Transport to the University of Canterbury should be arranged so participants can arrive in time to register at the start of the camp.

We will arrange flight bookings for those successful applicants who are from out of town.

All travel and accommodation arrangements will be confirmed with successful applicants. Airport pick-ups will be arranged in groups.


For further information and enquiries please contact:

Aimee Claassens
Outreach and Events Coordinator
Phone: +64 3 369 0652
Email: scienceoutreach@canterbury.ac.nz

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