Saturday, 11 June 2016

The magnificent seven

The Maori new year festival began this week,
with the pre-dawn rising of 'the seven sisters' - the Pleiades cluster

The Pleiades cluster is named after the Pleiads, - the seven daughters of Atlas in Greek
mythology, due to the number of stars generally visible to the naked eye in perfect conditions.

Like the cyclical procession of the constellations in our beautiful southern sky, I've been able to repurpose the graphic below every other year.

Times are changing however, and although newspapers no longer have the room to indulge a full-page infographic, the limitless appetite of the internet was the main platform this time.
Take a look:

Two main advantages came from this development.  The first being that the main graphic (the star chart at the bottom) was made ‘interactive’, allowing you to zoom and pan around the sky.

The second was that readers were instantly able to leave a response.  This has certainly been a mixed blessing because, as we all know: “haters are gonna hate”.
It’s been an interesting and humbling experience dipping into the murky world below the 'comments line', but fortunately for every foaming attack there has been an expression of genuine interest and appreciation, and every snipe against the cultural and historical validity of the Matariki festival is balanced by someone adding useful information. (Arghh - I can’t believe I called the Pleiades cluster a constellation - I’m off to stand in the corner).

Happy Matariki to everyone - even the ‘haters’.

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