Extreme Science II in Stewart Island
How do we really know that the moon landings happened? How long would it take to get to Mars? And the ever popular, how to you go to the toilet in space? Just some of the tough questions that the senior class of Halfmoon Bay school in Oban, Stewart Island, had for Museum Director Dr Ian Griffin.
Dr Griffin was visiting the school, along with two Science Communicators, as part of Otago Museum’s Extreme Science II, a project that aims to take hands-on science to Aotearoa’s most remote communities. During their visit, the science team explored the science of light with the students and teachers. Experiments with diffraction glasses, spectroscopes, infrared cameras, and a solar telescope helped with learning about both visible and invisible light.
But the science fun didn’t stop there! In the evening, the team set up a StarLab – the Museum’s portable planetarium – to provide the Stewart Island community with the southern-most planetarium experience in New Zealand. More than 60 people attended the StarLab session about constellations and the life cycle of stars, and listened to a talk by Dr Griffin about his passion for aurora hunting.
The Extreme Science II project is funded by Unlocking Curious Minds, a Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment fund, and supported by the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies. The aim is to excite those New Zealanders who might not normally get the opportunity engage in science. The project has already visited Fiordland and the East Cape, and the next stops will be in Northland, Great Barrier Island, and the West Coast. Keep an eye out for events happening near you!