Sunlight and life on Earth
Light is made up of photons. A photon is a tiny packet of electromagnetic energy. In Sunlight – Ihi Kōmaru, visitors take charge of their own photon, guiding it from the Sun’s core, through space, and eventually to Earth, where, with some good aim, it will nourish plants – our food!
The Sun is vital to nearly all life on Earth, and throughout human history it has been central to many cultures around the world. Visitors to the ‘Story of the Sun Whare, can view two sun stories, including How Māui Slowed the Sun.
Lasers, light and colour
Light travels straight and fast yet it also vibrates in different directions as it travels. Light can also be reflected, refracted, dispersed, polarised and scattered.
Light has many tricks and secrets, from the way it can bounce and reflect, to the way white light can be dispersed into the colours of the rainbow. Visitors to Sunlight – Ihi Kōmaru will create their own vibrant shadows in the colour mixing game, arrange prisms to make intricate light patterns, see how beams travel from mirror to mirror in a laser maze, and move the polarisation filters around a secret screen to see hidden images.
They’ll also experience ultra-violet (UV) light and unlock a solar secret using a UV torch. Navigate the mysterious black panels dotted throughout the exhibition, solve the hidden puzzles and decode a secret word!
FORMATION OF THE SUN
Re-enact the birth of our star through this motion-tracking digital interactive.
ULTRAVIOLET TORCH GAME
A business-card-sized Ultraviolet (UV) torch is given to each visitor. Extra content is placed within the exhibition using invisible ink, andthey are only revealed under the glow of the UV torch.
The full detail of the sun cannot be observed by the naked eye, but using this digital interactive you can examine it through different wavelength filters, revealing many surprising features such as sun spots and solar flares.
A giant board game where visitors play the role of a photon and journey to Earth. Along the way they will discover how crucial sunlight is to life.
TITANS OF SPACE
Take a virtual-reality tour of our solar system and discover how the Sun compares to the supermassive stars in neighbouring galaxies.
Play with mirrors, prisms, lenses, lasers, polarising filters and more to discover the surprising behaviour and properties of light.
THE SUN’S BIO
A series of interactive stations that describe the characteristics of the Sun: size, temperature, mass, age.
SOUNDS OF THE SUN
What does the Sun sound like? Climb inside a giant inflatable Sun and find out.
THE SPEED OF LIGHT RACE
The speed of light is very fast.It takes 1.28 seconds for the light to travel from the Moon to Earth. Race family and friends to see how long it’d take you to reach the moon.
Spin a model of Earth to see how the tilt in Earth’s axis causes changes in climate as the Earth orbits the Sun.
THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM
The full spectrum of sunlight includes visible light, Radio waves, X-rays and more. Humans have found many technological uses for each part of the spectrum. Explore the spectrum and see examples of electronics that utilise each frequency jump into life around you.
SOLAR TECH KITS
Solar technology can take many different forms and is used in a variety of applications. Play with a set of interactive
stations to find out how to best harness the power of sunlight.
STORIES OF THE SUN WHARE
Watch the story of how Māui and his brothers captured the Sun and made the length of our days longer. Select stories of the sun from diverse cultures.
White light is made up of three colours – red, green and blue. Pose in front of coloured lights with your friends and experience the surprising ways they mix.
Explore the properties of magnetic fields. Move a magnet on a pivot arm to see the effect on a live feed video image of a special wall-mounted graphic, or your friend’s face. Discover how solar weather is generated by the Sun and see how the Earth’s magnetosphere creates a protective shield from solar storms.
DARK ROOM / LIGHT TUNNEL
A contemplative space where a soundscape offers echoes of light philosophy. Special lights shine out through dry-ice to create a fascinating, swirling lightshow