Guest: Ian Griffin (Astronomer)
Topic: Aurora Australis
Since first observing the southern lights a week after he moved to Dunedin seven years ago, Ian Griffin has become obsessed with the aurora australis. On clear nights he can be found on the back bays of the Otago Peninsula trying to experience the aurora’s subtle glow. Ian’s fascination with the southern lights has led to a number of adventures. These include being cautioned for speeding by an unsympathetic police officer during the best auroral display of the past ten years and chartering two Air New Zealand airliners to fly thousands of km south of Aotearoa deep into the southern auroral zone. He has also photographed the aurora during five flights on NASA’s SOFIA Observatory.
During this talk Ian will share some stories from his secret life as an aurora addict. Ian’s day job is Director of the Otago Museum in Dunedin. He has a PhD. in astronomy from University College London and has discovered more than 20 asteroids including 10924 which is named to honour his wife Maria. In 2015 Ian was awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize and in 2019 he became a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Supper: Elizabeth Burtt and Helen Boerlage