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Published: 12 May 2023

By Andy Ross

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Star by Night

In the depths of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, stars shine brightly, showing travellers the way home.

In this part of the world people have long navigated with maps made of sticks indicating ocean currents and by recourse to the stars, the positions of which were memorised. For a long time these techniques were in danger of being forgotten because advances in technology meant that they were no longer necessary but they never entirely disappeared and nowadays are experiencing a resugence of interest. This short article has some details of how to work out a position using the stars and describes how navigators travelled across the ocean. 

Artist Ani O'Neill, who is of Rarotongan, Aotearoan and Irish heritage, has used stars in her work, Star by Night. Made of black florist's ribbon, the plaited interlinks of the textile make star shapes in a dramatic sculpture 3 metres wide and 6 metres tall. The sculpture reminds us of the ongoing importance of stars in myth, legend and culture in this part of the world. 

You can see more of the artist's work here and if you fancy trying your hand at a crocheted moon crater, watch the video below.