Photographer Gary Steel with one of his photos

Night sky exhibition opens

by Mike Isle

A unique exhibition featuring the best local astrophotography has been officially opened at the West Melton Community and Recreation Centre.

The exhibition, which is hosted by the Selwyn District Council, showcases photos of the night sky taken by local photographers at Greendale and the West Melton Observatory.

One of those photographers Gary Steel described the exhibition as a phenomenal merger of science and art. “There’s technical challenges, there’s physical challenges when you’re sitting out there on a minus four-degree night, but when you see them developing on your screen you think ‘yep, it’s worth it’.

“It’s also a view of the past, seeing things that are talking to us, quite literally over millions of years. It’s a real privilege to take these photos.

Another of the photographers Simon Lewis said, “What amazes me is that you can look at areas of the sky and you think there’s nothing there. When you point a telescope at it and expose it, there are things there that suddenly you can see, and you have a view into another world, another universe or galaxy.

The official opening was made by Selwyn District Council mayor Sam Broughton who said, “Growing up in Darfield I was introduced to the night sky and the amazing views we have out here. Lately, with my work with Local Government New Zealand and the council we’ve been looking at the importance of night glow and dark sky areas. Thank you to the astronomical society for making sure that night glow and light pollution is something we look at as a council.”

The exhibition is part of the council’s Matariki celebrations and will be open until the end of June.