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John-2When Fish­Head met John Field he sur­prised us by joy­fully exclaim­ing, “Are you also a Capri­corn? Today is sup­posed to be our worst day, of the worst week of 2014!”

An Eng­lish import, John has had a pas­sion for the world around us since child­hood. Ini­tially inter­ested in vol­ca­noes and geo­logy, he then fell in love with the stars and bought his first tele­scope to watch Halley’s Comet in 1986. John is cur­rently work­ing as an astro­nomer, research­er and edu­cat­or at the Carter Obser­vat­ory along­side schools, Vic­tor­ia Uni­ver­sity and the pub­lic to help cre­ate a bet­ter under­stand­ing and appre­ci­ation for the stars.

If it’s been a hard day at work and I’m in need of a drink I’ll be at… Prob­ably down at the Green Man Pub hav­ing a drink, or two, or three. Also The Ball­room on Cour­tenay Place is a good spot to head after work. 

If you need a slice of cul­ture you can’t go past… Wel­ling­ton is full of great places to check out like Te Papa and Circa Theatre. There was a Doc­tor Who con­cert on earli­er this year that I went to with the fam­ily where the NZSO per­formed music from the tele­vi­sion series. There was also a Doc­tor Who exhib­i­tion on at Cap­it­al E — that was really cool! 

My favour­ite Wel­ling­ton land­mark would have to be… For me, it’s always when you drive down the Ngaur­anga Gorge, com­ing down that hill and you turn the corner and Wel­ling­ton opens up in front of you. That’s a stun­ning sight — unless there is ter­rible weath­er, then it’s not that nice… 

I think Wellington’s best-kept secret is… There are lots of great spots to go star­gaz­ing. I like to go along the Island Bay coast. On a clear night, that is a beau­ti­ful spot to go aurora watching.

The coolest thing I’ve ever seen through a tele­scope would have to be… In 1994 when Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 crashed into Jupiter! Research­ers were plot­ting the comet’s orbit and real­ised it was going to crash, so the night of the impact I was up at Carter watch­ing through the tele­scope. Big black spots, big­ger than the plan­et Earth, were clearly vis­ible crash­ing into Jupiter! That was the first time some­thing like that had been seen before.

People always assume astro­logy and astro­nomy are exclus­ive… But even some of the most fam­ous astro­nomers like Galileo and New­ton did astro­lo­gic­al read­ings for roy­alty, as astro­logy comes from the know­ledge of the night sky. For example Mars is the god of war, so if Mars were sit­ting in our star sign it would mean that there could be trouble brew­ing. Astro­nomy is the sci­ence behind what is actu­ally going on. So although most sci­ent­ists don’t believe in astro­logy, we under­stand and appre­ci­ate how it came about.

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