Mackenzie Basin now dark-sky reserve
Sun, 10 Jun 2012 6:08p.m.
By Alex O'Hara
More than 4000 square kilometres of the South Island has just been proclaimed an international dark-sky reserve.
The Mackenzie Basin has been formally recognised as a place with very little light pollution, making it the perfect spot for stargazers here and around the world.
The Mackenzie Basin is now officially the world's largest dark-sky reserve.
It has received gold-level status, meaning it's one of the best stargazing sites on earth.
“Where it is, it gets very little rain and very little cloud, so it’s a place that most of the time you can get a very good view of the astronomical objects you want to recognise,” says astronomer Richard Northey.
It's not only good news for stargazers but also for New Zealand tourism.
“It'll be great for tourists who live in Northern Hemisphere cities where they hardly see any stars because of light pollution to come to a place in New Zealand where they might see around 6000 stars in the night sky,” says Mr Northey.
So if you're after the ultimate dark-sky experience, all you need to do is head south and look up.
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15/06/2012 3:17:44 p.m.
@JC, what on earth are you talking about? the "key word" in the article is "proclaimed". To proclaim something, is not a legal requirement. To proclaim the Mackenzie basin a dark sky reserve is an opinion. Does NOT require government to make legislation for a legal declaration. This opinion is great news for New Zealand. The few areas left without light pollution to observe the night sky, usually requires the observer to venture far out to sea to receive an unobscured view of the night sky. or Far away from city or town lighting. NZers should be very proud of this.
11/06/2012 8:11:27 p.m.
McKenzie Basin is not officially the largest dark-sky reserve. It isn't officially a dark sky reserve at all! The International Dark Sky Association has no power to declare anything a reserve, so its declaration is meaningless. Parliament must now pass legislation to make the McKenzie Basin into a dark sky reserve.
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