If you ever thought of the night sky as black with a few twinkly stars, you are partially right. To human eyes it seems that way but astrophotography show the night sky is a riot of colour and cameras show there are billions upon billions of planets and stars out there.
The night sky will never be the same once you have experienced some astrophotography.
"Cameras catch colours the human eye or a telescope can't capture," said Himatangi astro photographer Stephen Chadwick.
He is offering Horowhenua residents and visitors alike a glimpse into his version of the night sky and a changing understanding of the stars with an exhibition of 20 of his photos of star clusters and nebulae located in deep space, on show now at Foxton's Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom until August 23. The show is a riot of colour, only cameras can reveal.
To celebrate Matariki, the Māori New Year, Chadwick was invited to show his pictures of Matariki, but also many others.
Not a professional astronomer himself, Chadwick said a move to New Zealand into a rural home prompted him one night to step outside and look up.
He hardly ever looked back.
"I was blown away with what I could see in the night sky. As a city dweller I never realised how much is out there as lights obscure the night sky from our vision."
It sparked an interest in astronomy and as a photography enthusiast already it didn't take him long to point his camera at the night sky to try and capture what he saw.
Many of his photos have very long exposure times, from 20 minutes to eight hours, often using a specialist camera mounted on to a telescope.
"The long exposure times allow the colours to show. The specialised equipment ensures pictures are less grainy than normal under long exposure and is designed to function in dark nights.
"As the stars and the earth move continuously you need to allow your camera to track with that movement or you will get a blurred picture."
He's showing pictures featuring the Tarantula Nebula, Horsehead nebula, as well as globular clusters with millions of stars, the Rosett nebula and Thor's helmet.
Particularly spectacular is one of galaxies gobbling each other up and the supernova remnants with shockwaves showing, which as the result of a star exploding.
The exhibition is called 'Matariki – Deep Space'. Entry is free.
Part of the exhibition, open from Friday, June 5, to Sunday, August 23, from 10am to 4pm, is the old Foxton Beach observatory telescope, from 1890.
It was installed in the Foxton Beach observatory in time for the arrival of Halley's Comet, in 1986 by its owner Nelson Bartlett.
This telescope was replaced by a newer one in 2015. The old telescope is owned by Foxton Beach School, where you can find the observatory, which is run by the Horowhenua Astronomical Society.
The Horowhenua Astronomical Society meets every month at the school.
"On clear nights there is a chance to look at the night sky to see distant stars, including some of the moons and rings around Jupiter."
For more information go to http://www.horoastronomy.org.nz/home or email email@example.com. The society meets every first Thursday of the month, except January.