Tag: stargazing

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The sky of March – The Shining Ones

At the fringe of our milky city of stars, on the north-western horizon, the Pleiades, the Shining Ones (Te Tawhiti) are preparing for the journey to the underworld. They are to disappear shortly behind the Sun and will stay there for a while.

And the explanation goes that since people of old did not really have an explanation about space, in trying to figure out where exactly the Pleiades went, they invented a underworld. This is probably one of the reasons why this group of stars is so linked to stories of death, rebirth, and ancestors, and used to mark the beginning of the year in some cultures.

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The sky of February – only the brightest!

Getting to know the southern sky is for ever a wonderfully strange experience. In any new place that I visit I always feel grateful for landmarks. On Earth, I am looking for trees and buildings and mountains, in the sky I always look for the brightest stars. Here in New Zealand, there are places and times when the light of the individual stars is lost in the haze of the Milky Way as if a blanket of tiny lights is covering the Earth at night.

Well, after spending about and around nine years in the dark at Carter Observatory, doing what I always called the awesomest job in the world, I heard a siren call and did what felt right. So Saturday I had my last planetarium presenting show (s) in this shape and form. And just like in the movies, on my last shift, a lady came to me and grabbed me by the arm after the show. (Need I say that nobody ever grabbed me like that in nine years of working here.) She looked me in the eyes, leaned towards me and said:
"I loved your show. I can see how much passion you have for your job. I hope you will always keep that alive!"
and then, vanished through the door, smiling ... I did not even have time to blink before she disappeared so the melodrama moment never quite took off but I did think "um, oops actually this is my last show..."