On Friday and Saturday, March 11th and 12th, a record number of 565 visitors participated in the National Stargazing Days at the Blaauw Observatory of the University of Groningen. The observatory's Gratama Telescope was immensely popular, as were the five smaller telescopes set up on the observing terrace. Visitors could see craters on the Moon, the moons of Jupiter, families of hundreds of young stars and the remnants of dying stars.
Planet researcher Migo Mueller spoke about "Planet X", and guest speaker Jeffrey Bout took children on an exciting tour of the Solar System. In the Mobile Planetarium, visitors traveled to distant exoplanets, while in the Science LinX exhibition they could experiment to their heart's content. Meanwhile, children competed to find Planet X in the Planet Battle and were immersed in their puzzles and drawings of the Solar System.
Visitors enthusiastically described their visit as "super!", "very enjoyable, educational and fun", "fascinating" and a "joy to be here". All said how inspiring the event was, and looked forward to the next National Stargazing Days. The Blaauw Observatory regularly organizes public events, see www.rug.nl/sterrenwacht.
This event was organized by the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen and SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, in cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Association for Meteorology and Astronomy (KNVWS), the Dutch Youth Association for Astronomy (JWG) and Science LinX.
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