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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!

october 16 chart

Supermoon and seventh planet

It’s full moon next Sunday 16 October at 5.23pm. Here in Dunedin, the moon will rise just after 8pm, and city dwellers should get a marvellous view as it slowly rises over the hills of the Otago Peninsula. Photographers should have their cameras ready for what will be, weather permitting, a lovely sight. If watching the full moon rise doesn’t sound exciting enough to raise you from your post-prandial Sunday repose, how about if I told you this week’s full moon will in fact be a supermoon? Just 19 hours after the moon is full, at 12.47pm on Monday, our closest celestial neighbour gets very close indeed, when it reaches perigee,...

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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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MESSIER 8 INTEGRATE

Gems in the evening sky

At 2.21am on Friday morning (23 September), the Sun crosses the celestial equator heading south. This is the exact moment of the spring equinox, the date when day and night are equal all over the world. With daylight saving starting on Sunday, I’m sure everyone who isn’t an astronomer will be enjoying the longer, brighter spring evenings in the next week or so...

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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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sunrise papanui

When does Spring begin?

There's been a lot of discussion here this week about the date that spring begins. Some claim that 1 September is the first day of spring; as an astronomer, I’d prefer it to start at the equinox, which this year is 23 September (at 8:02)..

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jupiter venus harbour

Exquisite Earthshine

I hope readers had a chance to enjoy last week’s spectacular planetary conjunction of Jupiter and Venus. While annoying high clouds (as seen in the photo) marred my view from Portobello last Sunday, the previous night the planetary duo presented a simply marvellous vista from my observing location near the eastern end of Hoopers Inlet... 

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24Aug pic1

Stunning Planetary Conjunction stirs the heart

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for clear skies this weekend. As darkness falls, there’s going to be an absolutely spectacular and very close approach between Venus and Jupiter in the western sky. If the weather gods cooperate, this should provide an inspirational sunset sight for stargazers across Otago

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An astronomical Olympic challenge

As we enjoy the efforts of our athletes at the Rio Olympics, it seems appropriate that, this week, the sky gods are setting Otago stargazers an extraordinarily difficult celestial challenge to test our astronomical skills.

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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.