A 24-hour global star party has just kicked off in Wellington, New Zealand, and Skymania was delighted to be there to join in the celebrations.
It is a major part of the International Year of Astronomy’s bid to bring the excitement of the universe to ordinary people.
Mayor Prendergast told a small crowd: “Starting here and now, the plan is to get a million people or more around the world looking at the skies through telescopes.
“Our skies are really a great treasure, especially in New Zealand where – weather allowing – they are usually clear enough of pollution for us to be able to see the glorious stars.
“And they are glorious. The 19th century American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said; ‘If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare.’
“Fortunately we don’t have to wait a thousand years – we can look up on almost any night and see one of the great wonders of nature over our heads.”
The Mayor added: “There’s nothing like looking at the night sky to give you a sense of your place in time and space. Perhaps if more people took time to bring that sort of perspective to their own lives, the world might be a more peaceful place.”
The 24-hour star party comes in the middle of a 100 Hours of Astronomy celebration, which is being marked in the UK mainly with a series of Moonwatch events.
Galaxy Zoo, the project that is getting the public involved in classifying galaxy types, is hoping to get one million galaxies classified over the 100-hour period.
Organiser Chris Lintott said: “Completing this challenge will not only be another significant step towards our goal of producing the world’s largest and most detailed catalogue of classified galaxies, but it’s also a good chance to demonstrate just how effective all of your efforts are when taken together.”
Picture: Viewing the Sun safely in Wellington at the global party’s launch. (Photo: Paul Sutherland)
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