The NightVisionz Cosmodome has been a big hit this week with over 2000 school children scheduled to visit it over a four day period. But the dome’s not just for school groups – everyone gets their chance to visit in the late afternoon and evening. There are two days left (4pm until 8pm Friday and 10am until 4pm on Saturday) so come along and explore the night sky (gold coin donation). Astronomer Ron Fisher will take you on a journey of constellations including Matariki – you’ll find there’s something for everyone.
The Young Adults area at Central Library is about to be transformed into a planetarium as it hosts the NightVisionz Cosmodome. Using a digital audio visual show to simulate the stars and a dome large enough to take 30 people inside at a time, visitors will be able to literally step into a journey through the night sky and learn about Matariki and other constellations with astronomer Ron Fisher.
The Cosmodome is a great experience for children and adults alike and will be open to the public from 4-8pm from Tuesday 9th to Friday 12th June and 10am-4pm on Saturday 13th June. Entry is by gold coin donation and sessions are on the half hour – just turn up (please allow a little extra time as the number of people allowed in the dome during each session is limited and there may be a short wait).
365 Days of Astronomy (where a new astronomy podcast is posted daily during the International Year of Astronomy ’09), had a recent post about ‘citizen science’, or science that is accessible at an amateur level. In addition to many other intergalactic gems, the podcasters spoke about BOINC, an open-source software platform which enables anyone’s PC to assist with scientific research (including the discovery of pulsars!); Stardust @ Home, a search for interstellar dust particles using a special ‘virtual microscope’; and GalaxyZoo, where you can classify whole galaxies by their shape. Listen to the podcast for more information!
The new Star Trek movie is very enjoyable, but does its astronomy hold up under scrutiny? The writer of Discover magazine’s excellent Bad Astronomy blog has reviewed the film and the answer is yes – and no. Well, maybe. Read his review here, but do be warned that it’s full of spoilers.
Venetia Phair – the last person to be said to have named a planet – died two weeks ago at the age of 90. She thought up the name Pluto for the newly discovered planet in 1930 at the age of 11, and suggested it to her uncle over breakfast. He – luckily – was a good friend of the professor of astronomy at Oxford, and the name was adopted a couple of months after its discovery.
Would you like to take photographs of the night sky? Not sure what to use or where to begin? Using his own experiences, John Field from the Wellington Astronomical Society will explore and explain how to use your Digital SLR camera and software to produce images that were previously beyond the scope of amateur photographers. Topics include what you need, how DSLR cameras work, what settings to use, how to polar align your mount using a DSLR, taking unguided images using a tripod, piggy-back and prime focus imaging through using a telescope, and image processing using freely available software. John will also include both the good, the bad and the ugly images he has taken to show what can go wrong and what you get when it all goes right!
Wednesday 13 May, 7pm – Central Library (2nd Floor), 65 Victoria Street
What would you need to know to survive a tour of the planets? Forget a Lonely Planet guide – let Ross Powell from the Wellington Astronomical Society take you on a tour through the solar system using some of the latest space probe images.
Explore these wonders and discover the hidden secrets of the solar system as we celebrate the International Year of Astronomy 2009.
7pm, Wednesday 15 April
Ground floor of the Central Library, 65 Victoria Street
Thank you to everyone who joined us in Civic Square over the weekend to celebrate 100 Hours of Astronomy – an event which took place worldwide. The weather held for us on Saturday and hundreds of people were able to see the Sun through the solar observing telescope, and then later on in the evening, the stars, the Moon and Saturn.
Saturn in particular was very popular and quite a stunning sight, especially for those of us having our first look through a telescope. We estimate around 1,000 people looked through a telescope with us over the two days – a fantastic contribution from Wellington towards the worldwide target of 1 million viewers!