New Year’s Eve 2022

Stargazing on the last day of the year from Star Safari. What a treat!

Great night and a very good sky, with many deep sky objects, planets and, of course, the Moon. What a perfect way to close 2022.


fantastic seeing


really good sky

Darkness – Bortle scale

very dark :)

Seeing measures the steadiness of the atmosphere.


Amateur astronomers use the Antoniadi scale for seeing conditions.

Eugène Antoniadi was a Greek astronomer, who lived from 1870 to 1944, famous for creating the first map of Mercury and supporting through his observations the fact that the famous canals on Mars were an optical illusion. A crater on the Moon, one on Mars and a dorsum on Mercury were named in his honour.

His seeing scale is used even today by amateur astronomers:

The scale is a five-point system, with 1 being the best seeing conditions and 5 being the worst. The actual definitions are as follows:

  1. (I.) Perfect seeing, without a quiver.
  2. (II.) Slight quivering of the image with moments of calm lasting several seconds.
  3. (III.) Moderate seeing with larger air tremors that blur the image.
  4. (IV.) Poor seeing, constant troublesome undulations of the image.
  5. (V.) Very bad seeing, hardly stable enough to allow a rough sketch to be made.

Note that the scale is usually indicated by use of a Roman numeral or an ordinary number.

Transparency of the sky

Transparency measures the clarity of the atmosphere.


It is affected by dust, smoke, and humidity, which .end to reflect light pollution back towards the observer increasing the brigthtness of the background sky. In addition, it is affected by clouds. 


Darkness measures the effect of light pollution on the objects we observe in the night sky. 

The Bortle Scale was invented by  John E. Bortle who published it in the February 2001 edition of Sky & Telescope magazine to help amateur astronomers evaluate the darkness of an observing site, and secondarily, to compare the darkness of observing sites.

What's with all the red light in the photos

We use only red light to preserve our night vision during a Star Safari. Our camera is also very sensitive to red light and combined with all the red lights that we use to illuminate the paths for safety, turns everthing into the fabulous red you see when we take long exposure photos. In reality these are fairy lights and red light torches.

So lucky to end the year doing the thing we love the most: stargazing. And we had the best time ever with a night sky, which despite the Moon being out there shining, had a fabulous seeing, not a star twinkling.

That song, “twinkle, twinkle little star”, sings about the worst conditions for stargazing. Besides, we know exactly what they are. Enormous balls of hydrogen, just like our Sun. Except that, less Alpha Centauri, our closest neighbour, all stars we see there with our unaided eyes are giant, much bigger than ours.

New Year’s Eve view to the North. The bright light in the sky is the Moon.
We always get the best sunsets driving to Star Safari; this evening was no exception—the last sunset of 2022 from Carterton.

Our small but dedicated group of stargazers drove from the other side of Wellington to get to us. It was extraordinary to host our guests and show them the marvels of the Universe on this last day of the year.

Despite the Moon being out tonight – first quarter, so half Moon, thus bright enough, we still managed to hunt down an impressive list of objects. But, of course, that’s also due to our special filters for our eyepieces that allow seeing nebulae even when the Moon is out.

We looked at Venus and Jupiter. We saw three of Jupiter’s four Galilean satellites – Io, Callisto and Ganymede.

We also saw Orion’s nebula, Sculptor Galaxy, Tarantula, Gem cluster, and Eta Carinae. See our observing list in the photo above, with Sam toasting Hot Chocolate (a traditional drink at Star Safari).

From one year to another – We’ve screenshot it just in case.

Map of the night sky made with Carte de Ciel.

Learn more about what’s in the sky this month from our Milky-Way.Kiwi site.

Find out more about the Dark Sky Places we now have in New Zealand 

Would you like to help looking after our night sky? Join Globe at Night, our Citizen Scientist network and become a citizen scientist yourself. 

All you have to do is count the number of stars on your street on a moonless night and report it online. We can show you how.

Star Safari Observatory

41º 08′ 32.57” S
175º 31′ 03.98” E

Elevation 180m

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On purchasing a ticket for Star Safari you agree to our terms and conditions and our cancellation policy as outlined below. You also agree to follow the instructions of Milky-Way.Kiwi Ltd staff and adhere to our safety directions and procedures at all times.

A Moon Garden for you

I grew up in an enchanted garden where the sky descended upon the world every night, bringing ripe heavenly summer fragrances, as the stars were watching from above. There was no border to separate the sky from the Earth. To simply to create that magic, is the only reason you need to have a Moon Garden.