National | Lower Hutt

Wellingtonians celebrate 100-hour astronomy event

This week Wellingtonians will get a rare glimpse of space thanks to the Wellington Astronomical Society who are putting on a number of free stargazing events as part of an international celebration of astronomy.

Friday provided the perfect weather for Hutt Valley locals to get a closer glimpse of space.

For many of them, it's their first glimpse at the wonders of the sun and moon’s activities through a special telescope. They’re looking for sunspots and solar flares.

Wellington Astronomical Society President Antony Gomez says, “Generally we teach people about the night sky and what to look for like the planets, today we’re looking at the sun. “

“We might be able to see some flares coming off the sun. The sun can be a little bit speckled because of the different temperatures on the surface of the sun and we might see some other stuff come off.”

But this small town isn't the only one celebrating astronomy today. The community event is part of a worldwide celebration marking the centenary of the International Astronomical Union.

"It's their centenary and they've asked all the societies and organisations around the world to help celebrate it and so this is their first event which is 100 Hours of Astronomy so it started yesterday and it's going to run all the way to Sunday," Says Gomez.

The society will run their second free stargazing event for the public at Wellington’s Wharewaka.

Hutt City Library will run more astronomical events throughout the year.