The SOVA Observatory (SOuth Vanuatu Astronomical observatory, from Czech for ‘owl’) is a small informal astronomical observatory we run together with my wife since 2013 on Tanna Island, Vanuatu.
We organize observations for students from local schools and sometimes take our telescopes to remote villages on the island to observe the sky with the local people. From the meeting of western and traditional Vanuatu celestial expertise, the Vanuatu Sky project was born to document the traditional astronomical knowledge of our country’s many language communities.
During my college and university years in the Czech Republic, I worked at Planetárium Ostrava, a public observatory, as a guide and observer. My interest in the starry sky and deep space didn’t leave me when I moved to Vanuatu … I did so with a small dobsonian telescope.
Over time, with the generous help of my friends from the Italian amateur astronomer group ASI (Astrofili Sperimentali Italiani), we built our current equipment of three telescopes.
We currently use three telescopes… no big beasts, just portable enough to take with us into the bush or wherever we want to observe with the people.
- Orion 80/400 refractor on polar mount
- SkyWatcher 76/300 reflector on dobsonian mount
- Spotting scope 15-45x60
We can be quite mobile, but most of the time we are based at the Collège technique et Lycée de Lowanatom on the west coast of Tanna
Google Maps, GPS: -19.504, 169.247
Are you coming to our place and interested in observing our southern sky through our telescopes or just with the naked eye? Drop me a line and let’s see what we can see together.
A few samples of astronomy pictures I took on Vanuatu and elsewhere.