‘Space to stare at the sun’

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Dunedin residents are invited to forget the winter chill and bask in the fierce glow of the sun in the latest Urban Dream Brokerage project.

The brainchild of visiting Otago Polytechnic design lecturer Trudy Lane amateur astronomer Mirko Harnisch, uses live and satellite footage of the sun to create “a space to stare at the sun”.

“The projection allows us to extend sunlight hours in a small corner of Dunedin by an extra four hours,” Ms Lane said.

Based in empty retail space at 23 Princes St, opposite the Dunedin Community Gallery, Sunroom is open free to the public from 3.30pm to 9.30pm daily until July 1.

The first two hours of the projection were drawn from the solar telescope manned by the Dunedin Astronomical Society, then once it grew dark the feed was switched to the Radebeul Observatory in Dresden, Germany.

On cloudy days, the Nasa Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite footage would come into the mix, Ms Lane said.

“Without the support of these organisations, the project could not happen, so I’m very grateful to them.”

The sun projection was surrounded by radiant heaters, giving viewers the feel of basking in the sun’s warmth.

The projection was also accompanied by soundscapes created by sound artists Alistair Galbraith and Matt de Gennaro, Morgan Oliver and Michael Morley, Sally McIntyre, Connor Boyle, Peter Claman and Sarah Claman.

The project aimed to encourage an awareness of the sun as the primary source of energy on the planet, Ms Lane said.

Urban Dream broker Tamsin Cooper said the Sunroom project was the first of two GigCity Community Fund art commissions for this year, and made good use of the city’s gig-speed internet.

It also had funding from Dunedin City Council and was supported by Otago Polytechnic.

Events

Alongside the Sunroom project, a series of talks and discussions is running, including:

Saturday:science show with Amadeo Enriquez Ballestero, 3.30pm.

June 28 (not June 29, as originally published): The sun as a star, talk by Otago Museum director Ian Griffin, 6.30pm.