11 Oct 2013

US astronaut at NZ astronomy festival

10:42 am on 11 October 2013

An American astronaut is expected to be the major drawcard at the first New Zealand Starlight Festival in Tekapo.

The festival is celebrating the Aoraki Mackenzie dark sky reserve, which was awarded the internationally recognised reserve status last year.

It begins on Friday night with stargazing at the Mt John observatory and continues through the weekend with keynote speeches, a build-your-own telescope session and a concert featuring space-themed tunes.

The festival features Marsha Ivins, a recently retired American astronaut who spent more than 55 days in space and orbited the Earth nearly 1000 times.