Te Mahutatanga o Takero - Mercury Rising

Date: 9th to 12th November 2019, 10am 
Venue: Mercury Bay Museum 

A partnership of cultural and scientific organisations across New Zealand are taking part in “Te Mahutatanga o Takero, Mercury Rising” a week-long, nationally coordinated, programme of inspirational science activities which will utilise a rare transit of Mercury across the sun that fortuitously coincides with the timing of Cook’s observation of the very same phenomenon. 

As the sun rises over New Zealand on 12 November 2019 a rare transit of Mercury across the Sun will be in progress. 250 years and 2 days earlier Astronomer Charles Green and Captain James Cook observed a similar transit, alone, from Te Whanganui o Hei/Mercury Bay. 

9th-10th November 10am - 5pm 
Lab in a Box will be outside the Mercury Bay Museum all day. Come chat with the Otago Museum Science Communicators and do some hands-on experiments. 

9th November 5pm - 8pm 
Science Communicators from the Otago Museum will have telescopes and a portable planetarium before and after the talk. Doors open at 5:30, talk starts at 6. 

11th November 10pm - 6am 
Join us at the Cook’s Beach Marine Reserve all night for a chance to see your favourite stars, constellations, planets, and other astronomical beauties! 

12th November 6am - 7am 
As the sun comes up on 12 November we will be able to witness the end of Mercury’s transit across the sun. We’ll have solar telescopes and experts to help you get a good view of the transit and take pictures to show friends and family! 

On the night of 11 November we will have telescopes and stargazing experts out at Cooks Beach for some astronomical fun! Happening from sunset to sunrise and open to everyone, we’ll be reigning in Mercury’s transit in style with this all night party. Swing by anytime to see some of the amazing constellations, stars, and planets visible above Aotearoa!  

The transit of Mercury will already be underway when the sun comes up over Cooks Beach at 6am on 12 November. The end of our all night star party will be the spectacular view of Mercury moving across the face of the sun. We’ll have solar telescopes, which allow you to safely view the sun, and Science Communicators to help you witness and photograph this historical event! 


Doctor Matamua is a lecturer in the Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Studies at Waikato University. His research revolves around Maori language revitalisation, Maori culture, Maori astronomy and broadcasting as well as sitting on the board of the Society for Maori Astronomy Research and Traditions (SMART). 

Doctor Nicholas Rattenbury, a Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Auckland, focuses on detection of extra-solar planets through gravitational microlensing and is working to develop an algorithm to analyse this complex micolensing data. This research will help shed light on how planets form, which is still not well understood. 

Doctor Pollard is an Associate Professor in the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences at the University of Canterbury as well as the director of the Mount John Observatory. She will be discussing her research surrounding the evolution of stars and Matariki. 

Dr Bunce is a Professor of Planetary Plasma Physics at the University of Leicester studying the magnetospheres of Jupiter and Saturn. Her and her team hope to investigate Mercury’s magnetosphere as well with the ESA/AXA BepiColombo mission to Mercury landing in 2025.  

Lab in a Box will be working with local schools and touring around the Mercury Bay area leading up to the transit of Mercury. 

He rae ki te rae, he ihu ki te ihu,
Te hau ka rere, te ha ka tau

A meeting of peoples, a mixing of cultures,
a blending of heritage, a sharing of future