Look after our night sky
This project has finished as of December 2021, thank you to everyone who took part, we look forward to doing more citizen science projects with the community in the future.
Join Space Place in a Citizen Science project where we measure light pollution — the excessive use of light at night, in Wellington and take action to darken our skies.
In this project we are calling for citizen scientists to help us measure light pollution around the city, using your naked eyes to estimate the brightness of the stars, or you can use a couple of phone apps. The results will be used to create a light pollution map that will show changes over time and in different weather conditions. We will use this information as part of a worldwide project to inform planners and reclaim the night sky in our cities.
New Zealand is famous for its dark sky. It’s our heritage but we also owe many advancements of science to those who tried to decipher its mysteries. When we lose our stars, we lose our inspiration, our links with our tupuna. We know that both Polynesians and European settlers navigated here by the stars. A Polynesian navigator described once the journey on the ocean as akin to floating inside the Milky Way, among the stars descending to the horizon. Go to the centre of any city and you are lucky if you can see the brightest stars when they pass above your head. When we turn artificial lights on, the stars always disappear. Their light is too dim.
New Zealand hosts the world’s darkest dark sky reserve, the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve as well as two Dark Sky Sanctuaries, one at Aotea/Great Barrier Island and one at Rakiura/Stewart Island. A proposed new dark sky reserve may expand to include all of Wairarapa. Imagine having yet another dark sky reserve but so close to home.