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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!

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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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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october 5th chart

Look North

The moon reaches first quarter next Sunday (9 October) at 5.33pm, so moonlight won’t be a huge distraction for Otago stargazers this week. This gives us an excellent opportunity to explore and learn about some fascinating constellations visible in the northern sky after sunset this time of year.

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Shed southern cross

Reflecting on Crux

My aim in writing these posts is to encourage you to enjoy something interesting in the night sky – sometimes it’s a lunar eclipse, at others it might be a close approach between planets, or (as last week) a particularly beautiful celestial object like the lagoon nebula. Amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, it can be easy to forget the simple pleasure of stargazing. Yet, when conditions are right, the combination of a crystal-clear sky and stunning Otago landscape can make for moments of transcendental splendour. I was reminded of this recently whilst driving around Hoopers Inlet, one of my favourite local astronomical stomping grounds. The night was still, the...

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14 sep chart Feature image

Another lunar eclipse that’s hard to see

As a keen chaser of lunar eclipses, it’s been a big disappointment that this year there’s been a real paucity of good events. So far during 2016, skywatchers in this part of the world have “enjoyed” only a couple of barely-visible lunar eclipses...

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meteor aurora 20 30

Auroras and the equinox

Something a tad more exciting than the impending change of season has put considerable bounce into my normally staid astronomical gait this past week. The splendid display of the aurora australis I witnessed last Saturday evening has much to do with this...

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Puaka, Matariki and Me

Approaching winter, we get ready to celebrate Matariki, the Māori New Year. Down south in Dunedin, we also celebrate Puaka (known as Punaga up north), and this year will be the 8th annual Puaka Matariki Festival.

 

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