Conference Title

Date, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Announcing the Aoraki Mackenzie Starlight Festival.

Where: Lake Tekapo.
When:  Friday 11 October 2013 to Sunday 13 October 2013.
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.

The events

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

Latest news

Lunches and morning/afternoon teas at the Starlight Festival

The Tekapo Catering Company will provide light lunches and morning/afternoon teas and refreshments for participants at the Starlight Festival at the Tekapo Community Hall.

•         Morning tea/coffee/refreshments 10.00-11.00 Sat 12 Oct
•         Lunches 12.30 -1.30 Sat 12 Oct
•         Afternoon tea/ coffee/refreshments 3.00-4.45 Sat 12 Oct  
•         Morning tea/coffee/refreshments 10.00-11.00 Sun 13 Oct
•         Lunches 12.15-1.30 Sun 13 Oct

On Sunday 13 October afternoon tea/coffee/refreshments will be available at the Earth and Sky AstroCafe at Mt John University Observatory.

Eftpos is available for food and beverage purchases.

Cash door sales at the Starlight Festival

On-line ticket sales for Starlight Festival events from this website will cease at 2 pm on Thursday 10 October.

Cash door sales will be available at the Festival Community Hall (at the same prices as for on-line sales), but only if seats are still available. EFTPOS is not available for ticket door sales.
Margaret Mahy Starlight Essay/Poetry Competition

The prize-giving for this event on Saturday 12 October, 1.30-3.00 pm will be one of the highlights of the Starlight Festival. With nearly 300 entries, the standard of the essays and poems submitted by school students from all over New Zealand was incredibly high.

Nine of ten prize winners will be attending in person and they will choose either to read their prize-winning entries, or have them read by our judges.
All prize-winners will receive a certificate from astronaut Marsha Ivins as well as a Galileoscope kitset telescope.

This is a chance for the public to enjoy the writing talents of the best and brightest in New Zealand’s schools. Everyone at the Festival is urged to participate in this exciting celebration of New Zealand’s young literary talent.
Read the prize winners entries here

The judges of the Margaret Mahy Starlight Essay/Poetry Competition have announced the ten prize-winners and they have selected the next best ten highly commended entries from the 295 entries received.

See the Essay/poetry competition tab for details.
We have places for over 180 students at the workshop to build your own Galileoscope and learn how to use it. Every student who enrols will receive their own refracting telescope to keep. These astronomical telescopes are valued at over $70.

We are able to almost give them away, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Institute of Strategic Leadership in Auckland.

t costs just $25 to enrol in the workshop. You will receive the telescope and 90 minutes of expert tuition on how to assemble it. In the evening, weather permitting, there is a two-hour session on how to observe the Moon, planets, stars and nebulae using the Galileoscopes. The Galileoscope instructors are experts from the University of Canterbury and Science Alive in Christchurch.

The Galileoscope can be mounted on a standard camera tripod. We recommend you bring one if you have one available. We have a limited number of tripods available for use on the night.

See here for further details. Watch a short video here on the Galileoscope.


The venue

The main Festival venue will be the Tekapo Community Hall, Aorangi Crescent, Tekapo, as well as other venues in and around the village.

The organizers

The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve Board, in partnership with the University of Canterbury.

More information

Contact Sharlene Mullen,
Department of Physics and Astronomy,
University of Canterbury
03 3642404

Visit this website for further Starlight Festival news as the Festival programme is developed.

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