A new astronomy exhibit at Central Stories aims to inspire and educate people about the breathtaking night skies on their doorstep.
‘‘Winterstellar’’ will feature 70 works of South Island astrophotography and astrovideography and opens next Tuesday.
Winterstellar Charitable Trust chief executive officer Andy Davey said he hoped it would showcase the quality of astrophotography available in Central Otago.
‘‘Many people take it for granted that other places are better, but they’re not — I don’t think there is anywhere in the world that’s as good as here,’’ Mr Davey said.
The region was uniquely placed for astrophotography because the location of the South Magnetic Pole and the tilt of the Earth’s axis meant Central Otago had a better view of the Aurora Australis and the Milky Way than the majority of the rest of the world, he said.
‘‘It is inspiring.’’
The iconic landscape of Central Otago was another aspect which added to the quality of astrophotography in the area.
‘‘The stars are one of the highlights — but the other highlight is the landscape,’’ he said.
That included notable geographical features and historic architecture in the district. Recent advances in technology had made astrophotography more accessible to the wider population, Mr Davey said.
‘‘Technology has made it easier for people to take world-class photography and videography of night skies.’’
The cameras and settings on modern phones allowed people to take astrophotography shots on their devices, he said.
‘‘It’s going to see so much more than you can with your eyes.’’ He hoped next year the exhibit could feature a selection of photographs taken on cellphones.
‘‘We want to do both things — we want to showcase professional photography . . .[and] we also want to encourage and inspire people.’’
The first ‘‘Winterstellar’’ exhibit was shown at Central Stories in 2020 and was organised by Mr Davey and fellow astrophotographers Victoria Bowman and Paul le Comte.
‘‘For many of us, it became the first lockdown project,’’ Mr Davey said.
Mrs Bowman died earlier this year, but her photography would be displayed in this year’s event. ‘‘Winterstellar’’ runs from Tuesday, August 29, to Sunday, October 15.
All of the works displayed in the exhibit will be available for purchase.