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Dark Sky star to pay a visit

Expert is Great Barrier bound

Published: 27 April 2018

A leading scientist who even has an asteroid named after him will visit Aotea Great Barrier Island next month.

John Barentine will be guest of honour at a meeting in Claris to discuss the island’s Dark Sky Sanctuary.

The author of two books on the stars, the Arizona native came to the International Dark-Sky Association from professional astronomy and asteroid (14505) Barentine is named in his honour.

Great Barrier Local Board Chair Izzy Fordham says the visit is something of a coup, and the board is delighted to have a world expert visiting the island.

“His knowledge of astronomy is second to none and this will be an incredible chance to hear from a world authority," she says.

Now serving as the association’s conservation director, Barentine grew up in Phoenix and was involved in amateur astronomy before studying at the University of Arizona, and starting work as a researcher at the National Optical Astronomy Observatories and National Solar Observatory headquarters in Tucson.

From 2001-2006 he was at New Mexico’s Apache Point Observatory, serving first as an observing specialist and then as an observer for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

He obtained a master’s degree in physics at Colorado State University and a master’s and doctoral degrees in astronomy at the University of Texas.

Barentine has contributed to science in fields ranging from solar physics to galaxy evolution, while developing hardware for ground-based and aircraft-borne astronomy.

Throughout his career, he has been involved in education and outreach efforts to help increase the public understanding of science.

As well as his work for the association, he is is a member of the steering committee of the University of Utah Consortium for Dark Sky Studies, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature Dark Skies Advisory Group.

The event will be held at the Claris Convention Centre at 19 Whangaparapara Road on Sunday 13 May from 11.15am to 12.30pm.