Star-gazing party in store

19:57, Mar 26 2014
timaru telescope sun heather mctague
GREAT BALL OF FIRE: The sun seen through the naked eye is bright and yellow, but with the aid of a high-powered telescope and a special hydrogen alpha filter it turns red. Here Heather McTague demonstrates the correct way to use the telescope to view the sun.

Seeing a star 4.3 light years ago is almost like looking in the past, and astronomy fans can do that and more this April.

And you do not have to wait till after dark to appreciate astronomy.

Astronomy, a study of celestial objects, can now take place in the afternoon, and with April being global astronomy month, astronomy aficionados can get their fill in South Canterbury.

Global Astronomy Month (GAM), organised each April by Astronomers Without Borders, is the world's largest global celebration of astronomy.

GAM 2014 will bring new ideas and new opportunities, bringing enthusiasts together worldwide to celebrate Astronomers Without Borders' motto "One People, One Sky".

South Canterbury Astronomers Group will conduct two astronomy events in Timaru as part of Global Astronomy Month 2014.


On April 5, Astronomers Without Borders' New Zealand co-ordinator, Richard McTague, will use special telescopes to observe the sun from 11am at the Mitre 10 carpark in Bank St, Timaru.

With the aid of a coronado, solar max 11 - a specialised telescope for viewing the sun - people can view the burning ball of fire in all its glory, said Mr McTague.

"You can also use a white light safe - essentially a white light filter just for sun spots," Mr McTague said.

On the same day, the public can attend a "global star party" at the Piazza from 7pm.

"If the sky is clear, star clusters and nebulae will be visible," he said.

"Some of the best things can be seen with the naked eye and a pair of binoculars."

It is a free event and anyone can come and observe the night sky with a range of telescopes and revel in the beauty of it all.

The Timaru Herald