Historian's mountainous goal reached

SCOT MACKAY
Last updated 10:50 20/01/2011
Aaron Nicholson
BARRY HARCOURT/The Southland Times
DELIGHTED: Manapouri historian Aaron Nicholson stands before the Kepler Mountains where two mountains have been named after New Zealand scientists Sir William Pickering and Beatrice Tinsley.

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A Manapouri historian has finally achieved his goal of naming two Fiordland mountains for famous New Zealand astronomers after a two-year wait.

Aaron Nicholson put the names for two mountains within the Kepler Mountains forward to the New Zealand Geographic Board in 2008 to recognise the late Sir William Pickering and Beatrice Tinsley.

The Kepler is the only mountain range in New Zealand named after a legendary astronomer, 17th century German Johannes Kepler, so Mr Nicholson thought it was appropriate to honour other famous Kiwi astronomers in the same area.

"The International Year of Astronomy was coming up (in 2009) ... so I thought it would be nice to have a place where our famous astronomers could have a place to live," he said.

Mt Pickering is at 1650m, 20km west of Te Anau, and Mt Tinsley is at 1537m, 15km west of Te Anau.

Dr Pickering was known for his work as director of the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and for leading the development of the United States' unmanned space exploration.

Dr Tinsley's work, the Evolution of Galaxies and its Significance for Cosmology, as per the name, looked at the evolution of galaxies and the effect on the origin and size of the universe, which had a profound effect on scientific knowledge.

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- The Southland Times

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