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Blog

The blog is where we'll post news, updates, information about objects in our collection, #betterworkstories, profiles of staff members and visitors, pictures and videos, and really anything we think you'd find interesting. We hope you enjoy. 

If there's a topic you'd like us to do a post about, or a post that you think needs a sequel, just let us know!

April

Saturn in the heart of the Milky Way

It’s been a good week for Otago sky watchers with a remarkable aurora australis last Saturday evening. The beams and colours of that display (which was visible as far north as Auckland!) will linger long in this stargazer’s memory.

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close up

A night of bright meteors

With clear sky forecast, and with excellent prospects for a really good auroral display, last Friday I headed out to Hoopers Inlet. As the sun set behind the hills, I set up my cameras for what I hoped would be a memorable evening of aurora hunting.

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skywatch 1st feb

Jupiter rising

Last Tuesday, clear sky in Dunedin found me in my garden taking pictures of remote nebulae through my telescope. As my camera clicked away, the long ten- minute exposures allowed me time to sit in a comfortable deckchair and enjoy the simple pleasure of exploring the sky overhead using binoculars...

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Jan 26

Some fun in the sun

As the run of poor night-time weather has continued here in Dunedin, since the turn of the year I’ve had to resort to daytime observing to get my fix of astronomical excitement. Luckily despite my ongoing nocturnal misery, Dunedin’s long summer days (this week nearly fifteen hours between sunrise and sunset) have occasionally stayed clear long enough for me to point a specially-equipped telescope at our nearest star. As I’ve mentioned previously, you must never look directly at the sun through a normal telescope or binoculars as you will damage your eyes. However, there are types of telescope (called solar telescopes) which allow for safe solar viewing. In my case, I have...

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20 January

In search of the horse’s head

The past weeks haven’t been happy ones for Dunedin stargazers. Evening weather since Christmas has been dreadful, with few clear nights. With time off over the holiday period, and feeling astronomical withdrawal symptoms, I decided a stargazing road trip was in order...

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jan 11th skychart

Watch for a close approach of Venus and Neptune

I mentioned recently how readers who had access to binoculars or a telescope could spot Neptune, when it was relatively close to the planet Mars...

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16th nov skychart

A close approach of Mercury and Saturn

As darkness falls this week, there’s a fine celestial display in the south-western sky as the planet Mercury pops into view and sails past Saturn. With the sun setting at about 9pm there really is no excuse for local stargazers not to hotfoot it to a local beauty spot with a good view to the south-west and enjoy the spectacle. Once the sun has set, the planet Venus will be the first object you will see as the sky darkens. Often mistaken for an unidentified flying object, the second planet from the sun is spectacularly bright; at sunset it stands just about twenty degrees (or one handspan at arm’s length)...

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m31 rock piller

An epic night of astronomy

Back in July 2015, I described a difficult celestial challenge which I intended to overcome. I set out to spot a marvellous object which astronomers call the great galaxy in Andromeda – a collection of a billion stars some two million light years from Earth.

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column 26

A Tour of the Deep South

The moon is new next Monday (31 October) at 6.40am, which means we are entering the part of the month known as ‘dark of the moon’. Of course with the nights getting shorter in the run up to the summer solstice, the amount of darkness is decreasing with each passing day, but with the sun setting just before 8.30pm and rising at around 6.15am, Otago skywatchers still get to enjoy almost ten hours of stargazing this week...

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chart 19th october

Planets in the evening sky

I’m certain that my commute along Otago Peninsula from Dunedin to Portobello is one of the world’s best. After three years of making the journey twice daily, the constantly-changing outlook across the harbour is still awe-inspiring, even on days which are grey and overcast

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About

Our blog aims to keep you informed of the latest happenings at the Otago Museum, through posts about our collections, our people and our work.

Disclaimer

The views expressed here are those of our individual contributors, and are not the views of the Otago Museum.

Copyright

All content of this blog is Copyright Otago Museum, 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the Otago Museum, except for the purposes of private study, research, criticism, review, or education, as provided for in the New Zealand Copyright Act 1994.