Auckland's Stardome to celebrate 50th birthday

Auckland's Stardome will celebrate its 50th birthday on Tuesday.

Its Carl Zeiss telescope from Communist-era East Germany is still at the cutting edge of astronomy, discovering new planets.

The planetarium, built in 1997, was a welcome sibling to the telescope and presenter Mel Bruges says it helps draw in the curious.

"People are interested in the new discoveries but really it comes back to the same questions about what is our place in space, how big is the universe - it is fascinating how interested people are in those core questions," Ms Bruges says.

A million people have used the telescope and with a flurry of new spacecraft and new discoveries the Stardome is thriving.

Every generation wants to look up to the sky and reach for the stars.