Staring into space

Stars in his eyes: Professor Brian Boyle at his home observatory in Speargrass Flat

An out-of-this-world exhibition is coming to Arrowtown.

Winterstellar 2022 is a collection of astrophotography and videography from several different astrophotographers, including Arrowtown’s Professor Brian Boyle, who is also chair of the Winterstellar Charitable Trust.

‘‘The other photographers take pictures of the wonderful Otago landscapes set against the night sky — usually [the] Milky Way or the Aurora Australis,’’ Boyle says.

His images zoom in on specific astronomical objects, and have been shot from his personal observatory at Speargrass Flat.

‘‘I’ve got images there of things like the vela-puppis supernova remnant, that’s an exploding star that went off twelve thousand million years ago,’’ he says.

The exhibition was the brainchild of Boyle’s fellow trustee, Andy Davey, and first ran in Alexandra in 2020.

Boyle says it’s a chance for the trust to educate and inspire people about astronomy, Maori culture, astro photography and the importance of protecting Otago’s dark sky.

‘‘I like to say in Central Otago, we live further south than 99.99% of the world’s population, it’s a very special place.

‘‘The combination of the darkness and the clear skies and the spectacular landscapes, and our southern location, it can’t be beat,’’ Boyle says.

With that said, Boyle’s keen to protect the skies from light pollution.

‘‘The loss of darkness at night is probably one of the biggest single impacts of human change on this planet along with climate change and the glaciers retreating.

‘‘Eighty percent of the world’s population now can’t see stars at night because they live in dense, urban environments where the sky is light-polluted,’’ he says.

He urges people and developers to adopt good lighting practices like using shield lights, turning lights off when they’re not in use, and using lower colour temperature LEDs.

Boyle will also be hosting a ticketed talk alongside the exhibition on August 5, but admission into the exhibition, running at Arrowtown’s Lakes District Museum from July 23 to August 31, is free.

[email protected]

- Advertisement -