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NZ: Stars, Moon, Aurora & Meteors?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific NZ: Stars, Moon, Aurora & Meteors?

1. Posted by Gone_away (Budding Member 23 posts) 7y

Hey people,

I happened to stumble upon a book on the topic above recently and was marveled by the beauty of them.

I would be on a 6 months WHV in NZ begining Apr 2010 and was wondering if there are any chances that I can see and able to take photos of Auroras, time lapse stars spinning etc there?

This is a new interest and I have zero knowledge of them, hope to get some advices here!


[ Edit: Edited on 04-Mar-2010, at 19:28 by Gone_away ]

2. Posted by Kelvin Ang (Budding Member 45 posts) 7y

Out here where I live, there is little light pollution and on a clear night I can sit in my garden and watch the stars. There's still some street lamps not too far away but it's much better than my previous home in the city. Coincidentally I've posted a photo taken last night on my blog...

The camera I used could only do a maximum of a 60-sec exposure and I believe at ISO 100, so only the brighter stars show up in the photo.

With a 30-minute exposure you'll get nice streaks of colours without it looking too cluttered. I've never played with such long exposures on a digital SLR though. I don't know if it's even possible to do it (sensor noise, battery power etc), but back in the days of good ol' film you just set up the camera on a tripod, lock the shutter opened and enjoy a beer while trying not to fall asleep!

I haven't seen the Southern Lights yet and it seems that solar activity in recent years has been low so it's unlikely that we'll see any auroras anytime soon.

3. Posted by timtravels (Respected Member 350 posts) 7y

As kelvin said it'll depend on the type of camera you have. I have a Canon 400D and the longest shutter speed it has is 60 sec but it has a "bulb" setting which opens the shutter for as long as the button is held down. To get a decent time lapse photo I put a rubber band around the camera so it holds the button and leave it on a tripod. Most time lapse photos are taken looking at the southern celestial pole so if you can find it you'll get the "ring" effect.

4. Posted by Gone_away (Budding Member 23 posts) 6y

Hey guys,

Thanks for the tips. I am using a Nikon D90, think I'll go buy a remote control to avoid gluing myself to the camera during bulb mode and becoming a statue.

Actually I am keen to know where are the best locations to catch the stars and stuff in NZ.

I took some photos from the book that I am reading and hoping to be able to replicate them!

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

5. Posted by hey_monkee (Respected Member 430 posts) 6y

I saw the aurora australis really well when I was in the Catlins one time (bottom eastern corner of the South Island)

6. Posted by Gone_away (Budding Member 23 posts) 6y

hey hey_monkee,

Catlins seems like a good place to stay! Thanks for the recommendation!

When was it that you saw the aurora australis?

I hope there are job opportunities there so that I can stay for a while...

[ Edit: Edited on 14-Mar-2010, at 05:17 by Gone_away ]

7. Posted by hey_monkee (Respected Member 430 posts) 6y

I was there approx May of 2003