Astronomy Section

Go and see the amazing exhibition at the Nelson Provincial Museum. It’s called Our Moon: Then, Now and Beyond.

There are two interesting talks coming up as part of this exhibition:

1. Eclipses Uncovered by Duncan Steel. 
Where: Nelson Museum cnr Trafalgar and Hardy Streets. Upper Gallery
When: Tuesday February 11th, 5.30 – 6.30 pm
Koha entry, bookings not needed.

Every so often, the Earth, Moon and Sun come into line, and an eclipse occurs. Historically momentous, these occasions have affected battles and changed the course of wars. Enthusiasts go to great lengths to see them today and will tell you that the cost in time and money was well worth it. The stirring nature of an eclipse is undeniable.
In this talk Duncan Steel will discuss the significance of an eclipse to humanity, science, history and the future. He’ll explain how lunar eclipses differ from solar versions and why total solar eclipses can be so extremely rare to see. He’ll also tell you more about what to expect when such an eclipse next falls in our region on Boxing Day in 2038 (best viewed in Collingwood)… and how on Earth we know all this!

2. Dr JJ Eldridge, Associate Professor, Dept of Physics Auckland University – a talk on ‘By the Light of the Silvery Earth: Our Moon in Science and Science Fiction’.
When: Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Where:  Nelson Provincial Museum, 270 Trafalgar Street Nelson, Upper Gallery
Koha on entry
No bookings needed

As – arguably – the centrepiece of our night sky, our Moon has been a focus of the human imagination throughout history, and the driver for an ongoing and near-obsessive fascination for visiting it. ‘Journeys to the Moon’ are a common theme in science fiction – in literature, on TV and via the silver screen – with some of the earliest and more recent examples tapping into our strange enthusiasm for turning it into our home of the future.

In this talk Dr JJ Eldridge will discuss how the portrayal of trips to our Moon in science fiction can be compared to real-life missions. Reflecting on well-loved sci-fi classics such as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey (1968), BBC’s Doctor Who, Sony Pictures’ Moon (2009), and other much-enjoyed gems, she’ll unpick where science fiction is based on science fact and how far artistic license can be respectably pushed. JJ will then flip the coin to take a look at how science fiction could influence reality as we aspire to make the Moon our home.

J is an active advocate for equity and inclusion in academia, especially for transgender and gender diverse people. 

  • You can find the full public programme here.
  • All events are also on Facebook here
Public Outreach nights at the Cawthron Atkinson Observatory will take place each clear Friday night from March 20th until mid-October.
The first night in 2020, March 20th, starts at 8.00 pm.
Depending on the time of year, moon phase etc there will be viewing of the Moon, planets, and the various deep sky objects in the night sky, especially in and around the
Milky Way. Sometimes there may also be a talk in the adjacent hall.
Admission is $5.00 per person, with a maximum of $15 for families.
Opening times will vary depending on sunset time.
– March and October will be 8pm
– April and September 7.30pm
– May-August 7pm.
Those who bring along their own telescope, and assist on open nights, will be granted free admission.
The Cawthron Atkinson Observatory is situated at Clifton Terrace School, 888 Atawhai Drive, Nelson, behind the School Hall.
Parking available on the road below the school.