Once night falls I step out on the deck at Waikawa Beach and can see the glow from the lights of Ōtaki, Masterton, Levin and Palmerston North. Fortunately though, with no street lights nearby, I can look a little higher and see stars, galaxies, planets, Moon and occasional satellites shining against the dark of the sky.
Recently Strathnaver resident Jaye Pere pointed her telescope at the full Moon (Facebook link), attached her Samsung Galaxy S10 to the eyepiece and took these amazing photos.
We’re so lucky here to have few streetlights and few house lights, meaning the sky is good and dark, and even fainter celestial bodies are easy to see. Take that Wellington!
Even a small pair of binoculars will show detail on the Moon (te marama), and may show you stars (ngā whetū) where you didn’t think there were any. But it all depends on that nice dark sky.
Now, if you’re in the mood for a total lunar eclipse there is one coming up at the end of May: (clouds willing) we’ll be able to see a total eclipse of the moon from Waikawa Beach on 26 May 2021. The best stuff happens between 11 pm and 11.30 pm, but the show starts around 8.45 pm.You won’t really see much then, but start watching at 9.45 pm to see the Moon start turning red.
And even if the sky doesn’t interest you personally that much, maybe you could help out your neighbours by being careful with lights: point security lights towards the ground, turn off lights that don’t need to be on (and save on power bills), and think about closing the curtains.