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Dark Sky photo on international calendar

December 19, 2018 December 2019 No Comments

The South Wairarapa’s night sky has been given the prestigious cover of the 2019 calendar from the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) which is published worldwide, thanks to local astrophotographer Glen Butler.

This calendar showcases the best astrophotography in the world each year.

“We’re delighted to see the Wairarapa receive the international recognition it deserves for having clear, dark skies – and also recognition for talented local astrophotographers like Glen,” said  Lee Mauger, Chairman, Martinborough Dark Sky Society.

This photo features the Milky Way and the anchor from the steel barque ‘Ben Avon,’ which marks its sinking on 11 November 1903 off the coast of Cape Palliser.

”The clarity of the constellations you can see around this coastline makes it easy to imagine how celestial navigation was used by sailors including Kupe and Captain Cook to find their way to Aotearoa.” Mauger said.

“You can also clearly see the famous ‘Galactic Kiwi’ shape in the Milky Way directly above the anchor,” he added.

Celestial navigation is becoming a lost art in the age of GPS and light pollution. But local Iwi members are planning to build a Maori Star Compass at Lake Ferry as part of the revival of traditional navigation skills – which Kupe used to return to Wairarapa at least twice.

The Martinborough Dark Sky Society is preparing an application to the IDA to help protect the dark skies the community enjoys in the Wairarapa.

“This will enable us to develop programmes to ensure the next generation continue to be inspired by the night sky, safe in the knowledge the dark sky will be here to stay for generations to come,” Mauger said.

Glen Butler is planning to begin guiding small groups of enthusiasts on astrophotography adventures inside the proposed Wairarapa International Dark Sky Reserve.

Anyone interested can make contact – or just view more of Glen’s work at facebook.com/NightandLight OR: martinboroughdarksky.org


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