Sunlight – Mixing Colours

24 MarExhibitions / Touring Shows

colour rgb

A new Te Manawa developed exhibition is promising to challenge everything you thought you already knew about the light that has shaped life and culture for millions of years.

Opening on 18 April, Sunlight – Ihi Kōmaru will enable visitors to Te Manawa to experience the Sun and the properties of light as never before. Young and old, from all walks of life, will find out how light is created in the Sun, how fast light travels, how the Sun affects life and some of the incredible ways light is utilised in human culture

The Sun is more than a giant ball of fire in space. Sunlight – Ihi Kōmaru gives visitors the chance to investigate the world of light, colour, reflection, refraction and other areas of optics through playful hands on experiences. There will be time lapse footage including months of the Sun’s life compressed into one minute.

The colour ‘selfie’

Everything we’ve ever been taught about the colour wheel will be challenged in the Colour Mixing interactive . In 1672 Sir Isaac Newton published his colour wheel, demonstrating that light alone was responsible for colour. White light is equal amounts of red, green and blue light (RGB) combined – yellow light is equal amounts of red and green combined. Visitors will be able to pose in front of the RGB coloured lights to discover what happens when one light is subtracted from the mix – and maybe shoot a selfie while they’re at it.

Visitors to Sunlight – Ihi Kōmaru will be exposed to the contemporary science around heliophysics (the study of the physics of the Sun), including recent photographic footage from NASA. The exhibition includes an interactive ‘Biography of the Sun’ spanning billions of years from when the Sun was first born, to present day and beyond. This exhibit will also let you experience what gravity would feel like at the surface of the Sun.

More than a rhino


All Black Richie McCaw would weigh 2,916 kg on the Sun. That’s more than a rhinoceros weighs on Earth, but slightly less than a hippopotamus.

To set the scene and scale, visitors will be able to step inside a large inflatable Sun. Once inside, visitors will experience the movement of the gases deep within the Sun via ‘solar sounds’. Though sound cannot travel through empty space, scientists can tell what the Sun sounds like by watching ripples on its surface, much like observing the vibrations on a drum or bell. The Sun’s noisy throbbing sounds occur at frequencies too low for the human ear to hear, but scientists have sped up the waves 42,000 times, and have compressed 40 days into a few seconds so we can hear them.

sunlight-thumbnail Developed and Toured by Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History with support from Central Energy Trust. Sunlight – Ihi Kōmaru opens at Te Manawa in Palmerston North on 18 April 2015. Admission Charges apply