Announcing the Aoraki Mackenzie Starlight Festival.
Where: Twizel Events Centre, Twizel (with some events at Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook village)
When: Friday 9 October 2015 to Sunday 11 October 2015.
Why:The Festival will celebrate the creation of the southern hemisphere’s first International Dark Sky Reserve, in the Mackenzie Basin and at Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park in the centre of New Zealand’s South Island.
It will also mark the International Year of Light (IYL) 2015, which has been proclaimed by UNESCO to educate the public about light-based technologies and to recognize the role of light in the development of astronomy. Light has helped us to see and better understand the universe, which has enabled us to capture stunning images of the cosmos. IYL2015 will celebrate discoveries and breakthroughs in Astronomy and promote an appreciation of dark skies and the need to combat light pollution.
The Festival will comprise a mix of scientific, educational and cultural events over three days, designed to attract school students, family groups and members of the public who are interested in learning more about the stars, the night sky, the problems of light pollution and the appreciation of the environment and outer space.The events will include stargazing, lectures, a concert, an essay and poetry competition, documentaries on the night sky, a photographic exhibition, and more. Some events will be free, while others will have a nominal charge (tickets will be on sale from July). Events can be purchased separately or Multi Event Passes are also available. Watch Professor John Hearnshaw here talk about the Festival or Hon. Margaret Austin talk here
The main Festival venue will be the Twizel Events Centre, 61 Mackenzie Drive, Twizel, South Canterbury. Some events will be at the Hillary Alpine Centre, Mt Cook village and at Mt John University Observatory, Lake Tekapo.
Transport between venues will be organized by a festival bus for those who need it.
The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve Board, in partnership with the University of Canterbury.
Contact Sharlene Mullen,
Department of Physics and Astronomy,
University of Canterbury
Visit this website for further Starlight Festival news as the Festival programme is developed.