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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!

Moon 5

Stories from Mt John: Astrophotography Basics

Astrophotography is awesome fun, so long as you don’t mind being up late! But it can feel pretty intimidating when beginning. A good place to start is photographing something like the moon and using it to practice the basics of astrophotography and photo editing. The moon, especially when full, is very bright in the night sky. So, we don’t need super expensive gear to get high-quality pictures! An entry level DSLR will easily do the trick; the most important part of getting a detailed shot of the moon is the lens. You’ll want a 200mm lens or longer for lunar photography...

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Stories from Mt John: Finding Mars

Now that the eclipse is over, the time has really come for #marsmania! Mars is so close to Earth and bright in late July (27 to 31) that observations will be the best possible until October 2020. Subsequently, one of the most common questions we get at the Museum is “what is that bright thing in the sky?” Currently the answer is always Mars! Early in the evening you will see Mars to the east and it will stay in our sky all night long. Tonight, the simplest way to find Mars is to look for the moon. It is full in...

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Stories from Mt John: Seeing

“Seeing” is one factor that makes a big difference to good planetary photography. Seeing refers to the impact the Earth’s atmosphere has on the telescopes ability to pick up a stable image. In the video below you can see the planet Mars wobbling around. That is the seeing. Bad seeing means there is lots of wobble - good seeing is a nice steady image. Seeing is hard to predict, except to say that it tends to be worse when the planet is lower in the sky, where there is more atmosphere between the telescope and the planet. To counteract bad seeing the...

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IMG 4428

Mars Mania at Mt John!

It’s time to get up close and personal with Mars! This July, Earth is getting the closest to the little red planet that it has been in 15 years. Earth will be between the sun and Mars (in opposition) on 27 July, closely coinciding with Mars’ perihelion (the closest point in its orbit to the sun). To celebrate this exciting event, the Otago Museum will be utilising one of the high powered telescopes at the Mt John Observatory. Located in Tekapo and the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, this location allows ideal views of the night sky because it...

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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.


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


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.