Tekapo: A town looking up at the stars

   Have you seen the stars with your lover?
   The night is cool and the sky is full of stars. All the stars in the sky are the mark of your love. If you can see the real starry sky once in your life, you will have no regrets in this life.
   So, go and come here. This is the most beautiful place in the world with the starry sky – Tekapo, a small town in New Zealand, famous for its ability to watch the bright starry sky, and it will also become the world’s first “Starry Sky Nature Reserve”.
  ”A place to sleep under the stars”
   Tekapo Town, located in the Mackenzie Basin of New Zealand, is a small town of only 320 people. Tekapo’s name comes from the Maori language, meaning “straw mat at night”, and some people translate it as “a place to sleep under the stars”.
   The town leans against the snow-capped mountains and sits on the Bihu Lake. On the other side of the lake is the majestic Southern Alps. The fine rock dust formed by the flow of glaciers is suspended on the surface of the lake, giving Lake Tekapo its rich turquoise color.
   By the lake you can see the beautiful Church of the Good Shepherd and from the windows of the altar there is a magnificent view of Mount Cook. There is a “shepherd dog monument” near the church – this bronze statue expresses the local people’s gratitude to the shepherd dog. It is engraved with: “Without the assistance of the shepherd dog, it is impossible to graze in the mountains.”
   This is also the most important thing in the town . One of the best places for stargazing. Previously, New Zealand photographer Franser Gunn’s starry sky works were popular on Sina Weibo, and the shooting place was at the Church of the Good Shepherd.
   Just by imagination, you can feel how romantic and wonderful it is to enjoy the starry sky here.
  Best view of the starry sky
   Tekapo is considered to be one of the few places on Earth where you can still see the full starry sky. There is no pollution from artificial light, no black smoke from factories, and no exhaust from aircraft engines.
   Here, people can see the beautiful night sky full of stars with the best view. Night skies like this are almost invisible in the rest of the world due to increasing city lights and air pollution. Only in Tekapo can one get a clear view of the Southern Cross and the Milky Way in the sky.
   Tekapo’s night sky is quiet and dazzling, with the Milky Way and the constellation of the major group clearly visible, making people feel like they are in a fairy tale world.
   The town is currently applying to become the world’s first Starlight Heritage Reserve, and will likely become the world’s first “Starry Sky Nature Reserve”.
  Why the starry sky here is the most beautiful?
   Tekapo is located in the heart of Mount Cook and Mackenzie Basin.
   The beauty is not just natural, and the starry sky can be appreciated, and all the residents of Tekapo town should be thanked.
   There is very little light pollution here. The two residential areas on both sides of a road constitute the whole of the town, with only 320 people in the town.
   In order to protect the beauty of the night sky, the townspeople have changed their way of life for the starry sky since 1981: they reduced the use of lights, and replaced the white light sources one by one with more expensive yellow light sources made of special materials. The high cost and bit of sacrifice did not seem to be thrilling, but it deeply affected the future of Tekapo Town.
   The control of light pollution is strictly enforced here. All artificial light must be directed downwards and limited diffuse reflection of light.
   Local resource management plans recommend the use of low-pressure sodium lamps, or lamps that filter UV light. The Lake Tekapo Resource Management Action Plan also stipulates that flood lighting be limited from sunset to 11pm.
  You can look at the stars this way: The best place to go stargazing
   in Tekapo is Mount John.
   There is a coffee house and an observatory at the top of Mount John. The coffee house is located in a house with the highest altitude and the best view in New Zealand. All glass lighting, bathed in bright sunshine during the day, accompanied by romantic stars at night, like a dream.
   The observatory is the astronomical observatory of the University of Canterbury. There are 6 large telescopes here, including the largest telescope in New Zealand, with a diameter of 1.8 meters, which can observe 50 million stars every night under the condition of pure night sky, and is open to tourists.
   Since the starry sky in the southern hemisphere is not the same as what we see in the northern hemisphere, the first thing people who climb Mount John will look for is the Southern Cross, and then those long-lost constellations that belong to them.
   There are professional instructors here. They are not staff trained by rigid tutorials, but scientists specializing in astrophysics, or astronomy enthusiasts who stay in small towns out of interest. They can converse in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, which is very easy for Chinese tourists to communicate. Under their professional and vivid, esoteric but concise explanations, what the starry sky presents to us is no longer just a gorgeous and splendid appearance, but also a reflection on life and infinite imagination.

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