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Video how-to

Finding Matariki

Join Dr Rangi Matamua as he shares with us how to find Matariki in the night sky.

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How to Find Matariki

Tahi, Rua, Toru - One, Two, Three

Early in the morning in the southeast in mid-July, the brightest stars in the sky will be the Southern Cross (noted in the image below by Acrux, its brightest star) and Atutahi (Canopus). At this time of year, the Southern Cross is at its lowest position in the sky. Atutahi can be seen high in the sky to the left of the Southern Cross. As the second brightest star in the sky, it’s hard to miss unless it’s cloudy.

From Atutahi, continue to the left to look toward the east. At around the same height in the sky as the Southern Cross you will see Takurua, or Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. It is also about as far away from Atutahi as Atutahi is from the Southern Cross.

 From Takurua, keep turning left, and around the same height in the sky you will find Tautoru, also known as the bottom of the pot, or Orion’s Belt. Above Tautoru you will be able to see Puanga (Rigel).

Finally, as you continue to turn to the left, you will see the red giant Taumata-kuku (Aldebaran), and finally Matariki (Pleiades). Congratulations! Count the stars and see how many you can see.

There are lots of online tools to help you find Matariki, wherever and whenever you are. The images on this page were taken using Stellarium.