Skyline Rotorua's new stargazing installation, which is costing the company $250,000, will be a unique contribution to encouraging astronomy in New Zealand, says an expert advising the company.
Skyline already has a stargazing site at its Queenstown operation, but the telescopes at Rotorua will be much more powerful, said Alex Holloway, who looks after sales at Auckland's Jacobs Photo & Digital.
The shop, owned by Craig Stein, has specialised in telescopes since the early 1980s and is advising Skyline on its installation.
"The Edge 14 is a rare telescope with only two others confirmed in the country and is only the second unit we have sold," said Mr Holloway.
"It's the best Celestron makes.
"There is nothing you can buy from them that comes close to the features or quality of the optics. It really is an experience.
"These products are top of the line and feature Edge HD optics for a much sharper image, while offering automatic alignment and other features."
The telescope would be housed in its own dome due to its extreme size. The site will also include CPC 11-inch telescopes.
Rotorua will also have a solar scope that can be pointed at the sun to view flares and sunspots during the day.
"Each CPC can also view the sun with a solar filter, which we will be making only for Rotorua as they are not normally available."
The experience will begin for visitors with the Skyline gondola ride up Mt Ngongotaha and the company is employing experienced stargazing guides to help visitors interpret the night sky.
Skyline Rotorua general manager Bruce Thomasen described the power of the Edge scope as jaw-dropping.
"You can look at space in a whole new dimension and there are stars there that are not normally visible with your eyes," he said.
The new attraction, which is expected to open next month, will give stargazers the chance to view an array of nebulas and planets, constellations and galaxies, he said.
Mr Holloway described the Edge as being like "the super car" of the telescope world.
"Not only will Skyline have better gear than their competition, they are hiring experienced guides and have a dome and sheds," he said.
"So you're not just outside in a field. The best gear with the best local guides is a recipe for success."
Rotorua a dark gem for growing band of NZ stargazers
Ngongotaha is one of the top eight locations in New Zealand for stargazing because of the dark clear skies blanketing Rotorua.
"New Zealand has a great sky, it's darker than most places in the world due to the lower population," said Alex Holloway of Jacobs Photo & Digital. Telescope installations in major cities such as Auckland suffered from light pollution, whereas Rotorua was one of the best locations, he said.
Installations such as the Skyline operation were very important in encouraging astronomy and amateur observers played a big role globally in monitoring the night sky.
"New Zealand has always had a passionate base of people who love our skies. It's growing due to prices decreasing. It used to be out of reach for most people, but now you can buy a 130mm motor drive unit for $600."
Mr Holloway said Jacobs Photo & Digital and Celestron were working closely together to foster astronomy in New Zealand.