21 Jun 2004

Astronomers in French Polynesia discuss science and tradition

1:46 pm on 21 June 2004

An estimated 400 people have taken part in an astronomers' meeting in French Polynesia aimed at bringing together science with tradition.

The conference was held at the territorial assembly and was also attended by a US astronaut, Janice Voss, who was part of the crew that docked with the Russian space station, Mir.

The Tahitipresse news agency reports that the meeting was organised by the association, Proscience Te Turu Ihi, whose head, Raymond Bagnis, said constellations are being interpreted differently depending on where the observations are made.

He says the position of the sun was at the heart of the debate as it still plays an important role in Polynesia, similar to the significance of the sun in ancient Egypt.