International Astronomers to converge on Christchurch, New Zealand

March 27, 2023

Christchurch, New Zealand has won a bid to host astronomers from around the globe for the Extreme Solar Systems V conference in 2024.

Over 500 international members of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), who focus on the study of exoplanets outside of our solar system, will gather for five days in March 2024 at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre.

The event was secured with the support of ChristchurchNZ and Tourism New Zealand. It will include a field trip to the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and one of only eight in the world.

ChristchurchNZ Head of Business Events, Megan Crum, says this prestigious international conference will have an expected economic impact of NZD 1.1 million for the region.

“It boosts Christchurch’s reputation as a knowledge and experience hub and will leave a lasting legacy for the region. Our vibrant, intelligent small city is the full package in a bucket-list destination. Excellent flight connectivity into New Zealand’s second largest airport makes it attractive to international experts for many reasons.

“The wider Canterbury region is home to New Zealand’s premier astronomical research centre, The University of Canterbury Mount John Observatory set within Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. This is a chance for them to see systems that can only be viewed from the Southern Hemisphere. Just three hours’ drive, Christchurch is an ideal knowledge hub for this conference,” Crum shares.

AAS event manager, Lisa Arnold, says delegates will be coming from the United States and Canada, South America, and Europe.

“Christchurch is not just another big city that could be anywhere in the world, but a destination with a real point of difference for delegates. It will be a lifetime experience for them to meet with local academics and they will have incredible opportunities for pre and post touring and field trips,” Arnold says.

The 2024 Christchurch conference marks the fifth in a series of Extreme Solar Systems symposiums that began in 2007. Past events have been staged in Santorini, Wyoming, Hawaii, and Iceland.


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