Mother of dragons — The Dragons of Ara

Secrets of the stars

by Mike Isle

Cosmic dragons, Matariki and other sights from millions of kilometres away will be seen in West Melton next month.

As part of its Matariki celebrations, Selwyn District Council is hosting an astrophotography exhibition featuring 11 photographs taken by photographers from the Canterbury Astronomical Society.

The exhibition, featuring photos by Simon Lewis, Gary Steel and Dr Euan Mason from the University of Canterbury, opens on Tuesday, June 4 and will be open for a month at the West Melton Community and Recreation Centre.

Although some of the photographs have been published in international science journals it is the first time the images have been displayed together in a public exhibition.

With most of the photographs taken in the district, at Greendale or the West Melton Observatory, the exhibition also highlights the beauty of the night sky that can be seen from many parts of the district, council community relations manager, Denise Kidd said.

“Matariki is a celebration based on the stars and Selwyn is a great place to see the stars,” she said. “We want to show visitors what can be seen here, and also to encourage people in the district to look up and enjoy the amazing views we have here.”

The photographs include pictures of constellations Matariki and Orion and nebulae of fascinating shapes and colours, including an image of a nebula in the constellation Ara described as resembling cosmic dragons.