Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


The Science Behind a New Zealand Celebration

The Science Behind a New Zealand Celebration

Astronomy has ancient connections to cultures around the world, including New Zealand. This month, New Zealanders can celebrate their own connection with the stars with the rise of a very special star cluster and the beginning of the Māori New Year.

The luminous Matariki cluster plays an important role in heralding in the new Māori year. The start of the festival begins this year on June 28, which is the night of the first crescent Moon after the first appearance of Matariki in the morning sky.

Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleiades star cluster. This group of stars is visible around the world so it has many different names and myths and stories associated with it. The names Pleiades and The Seven Sisters originate in ancient Greece, in Japan it is known as Subaru, Vikings referred to the cluster as Freyja’s Hens and in scientific circles it is called Messier 45.

The ‘open star cluster’ which is part of the Taurus constellation is made up of seven main stars but contains around one thousand other stars. It’s visible for much of the year, except for the month of May when the glare of the Sun obscures the view. Matariki is a stunning star cluster located 410 light years away, which is 100 times further than the nearest star, Alpha Centauri. One light-year is the distance light travels in a single year, which is about 10 trillion kilometres.

In astronomical terms, Matariki is a ‘teenager’. At a youthful 100 million years old it still has lots of action and developments to come. Astronomy Educator David Britten explains “When you look up at Matariki, you’re looking at an environment that resembles the earliest period when our Sun and solar system formed in a star cluster some 5 billion years ago. The brightest stars in Matariki are burning very hot, which gives them the blue-white colouring. Over the next few million years or so these stars will explode, producing the material that can create planets and entirely new solar systems.”

While different Iwi have different names for the brightest stars in the cluster the most common are Matariki, Ururangi, Waipuna-ā-rangi, Waita, Waiti, Tupu-ā-rangi and Tupu-ā-nuku.

The ‘Matariki Dawn’ Planetarium show at Stardome showcases the legend of Papatuanuku and Ranginui, Rona and the Moon, and Matariki. In the 360° immersive show you’ll learn more about these legends, why Matariki falls on a different day every year and how ancient Māori used the Moon as a calendar and how it influenced agricultural and festive activities. ‘Matariki Dawn’ plays at 7pm Wednesday to Sunday 28 June – 13 July. See www.stardome.org.nz for further details.

- ENDS -

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Health: Advanced Prostate Cancer Study To Improve Care For NZ Men

AUCKLAND: May 7, 2015: New Zealand men suffering from advanced or metastatic prostate cancer need new treatment guidelines to ensure improved, more consistent and more equitable care. Patients and their families could also benefit from better stage-specific ... More>>

BusinessDesk: Weak Dairy Prices Prompt Pull Back In Fonterra Forecasts

Weak global dairy prices have prompted analysts to pull back their expectations for Fonterra Cooperative Group's payout to farmers for next season. More>>

Broadband Network: Spark Launches New, Competitive Ultra Fibre Plan Line-Up

Spark is giving customers an even more compelling reason to switch to its Ultra Fibre plans from today with the introduction of new competitive pricing for the majority of its plans (details below) and Fibre Landline (voice-over-fibre technology) for ... More>>

Employment: ANZ Proposes Casualisation In Whangarei Stores

ANZ workers in Whangarei could see their incomes drop by 20 to 40 percent if the bank’s proposal to reduce the number of full-time positions goes ahead says FIRST Union national organiser Tali Williams. More>>

Finance: BNZ Develops Specialist Tāmaki Māori Banking Team

BNZ develops specialist Tāmaki Māori Banking Team to support Māori as Auckland grows More>>

Pharmaceuticals: Commerce Commission To Consider Pharmaceuticals Merger

The Commerce Commission has received an application from Pfizer Inc. seeking clearance to acquire all of the shares in Hospira Inc. More>>

Real Estate: Housing Unaffordability Issues Spread

Surging house prices in Auckland and Queenstown last month pushed home ownership even further beyond the reach of first home buyers in the two districts, according to the AMP360 Home Loan Affordability Report for March. More>>

Statistics NZ: Annual Exports To China Dip Below Australia

The value of goods exports to Australia ($8.7 billion) surpassed those to China for the year ended March 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today. More>>

Science: Hookworm Discovery At Malaghan Institute

Professor Graham Le Gros has led a team which has stimulated both innate and memory responses to the parasite, discovering along the way the unexpected behaviour of one particular immune cell, in Hookworm, one of the world’s most devastating tropical ... More>>

Business: Provinces Urged To Make Full Use Of New Air Services

Provincial New Zealand has been urged to use new air services to Auckland or risk losing them either partially or completely. The stark warning was issued today by Far North mayor John Carter at a ceremony at Kaitaia airport to mark the final Air ... More>>

Mobile: 2degrees To Credit All Calls And SMS To Nepal

In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Nepal in the weekend, 2degrees will be crediting all calls and SMS messages made to mobiles and landlines in Nepal from Friday 24th April until midnight Wednesday 29th April. More>>

Scoop Business: Alex Swney Pleads Guilty To $2.5M Fraud Charge

Alex Swney, former chief executive of the Auckland city centre business association Heart of the City, has pleaded guilty to dishonestly using documents to obtain $2.5 million. More>>

ALSO:

Petrol Burns Prices: Second Consecutive Quarterly Fall For CPI

The consumers price index (CPI) fell 0.3 percent in the March 2015 quarter, following a 0.2 percent fall in the December 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The last time the CPI showed two consecutive quarterly falls was in the December 1998 and March 1999 quarters. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news