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Research Kapteyn Institute The Blaauw Observatory

Public events at the Blaauw Observatory

Update: In the weekend of February 29 2020 the 44th rendition of the Dutch National Stargazing days is held. The Blaauw Observatory is open to the public on Friday February 28 and Saturday February 29 for young and old. Come and enjoy a tour, a planetarium show, a lecture and many more astronomical activities! From February 17, 20:00, you can reserve your tickets (for free!) for Friday and for Saturday. More information about the programme can be found below.

National Stargazing Days - February 28 and 29

Every spring, we participate in the National Stargazing Days, a weekend full of astronomical activities throughout The Netherlands. This year, the National Stargazing Days are on February 28, 29 and March 1. The Blaauw Observatory is open for the public on Friday February 28 and Saturday February 29. Entrance to the event is free, so don't hesitate to come and enjoy guided tours, planetarium shows, lectures, quizzes and even an interactive exhibition! The programme for this year is as follows:

  • 19:00 - Children's quiz (in Dutch)
  • 20:00 - Lecture (in Dutch) (by prof. dr. Eline Tolstoy about Galactic Paleontology on Friday and by prof. dr. Rien van de Weijgaert on Betelgeuse on Saturday)
  • 21:30 - Astronomy News with Bernard Jones (in English)
  • Ongoing - Space Laboratory: Cool experiments, fun arts&crafts and even a VR set up!
  • Ongoing - Interactive Exhibition 'Our Stellar Neighbourhood'
  • Ongoing - Guided tours to the Observatory from 18:00 to 23:00 starting every half hour. English tours are at 20:00 and at 22:00. From February 17, 20:00, tickets can be reserved for Friday and for Saturday.
  • Ongoing - Planetarium shows from 18:00 to 22:30 starting every half hour, English shows are at 19:30 and 21:30. From February 17, 20:00, tickets can be reserved for Friday and for Saturday.
  • Ongoing - Flexible short tours to the observing terrace where telescopes are set up. No reservations needed!

For a more detailed programme and a map of the building, see this site.

The Gratama Telescope

The Gratama Telescope is a beautiful instrument that could be used to look trough by eye. This is also a possibility for visitors! Have you never seen the craters on the Moon, the rings of planet Saturn or objects far in the universe? Then you should definitely visit us during our public evenings! The public evenings in the Blaauw Observatory are organized by the Kapteyn Institute (Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen) and SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research.

Every spring we participate in the National Stargazing Days and every year in October the Nacht van de Nacht. From October to March, stargazing evenings are regularly organized, depending on the weather. During these public evenings, guided tours are given at the observatory itself. Besides that, anyone can watch stars with clear weather with the Gratama Telescope and some telescopes on the roof of the observatory. Furthermore, there are astronomical activities for young and old such as crafts, quizzes and lectures, and also regularly available, the Kapteyn Mobile Planetarium. The public evenings are always accessible free of charge.

For the upcoming activities, see the agenda at the bottom of this page. You can also stay up-to-date via our digital newsletter, Facebook and Twitter.
The Gratama Telescope in the dome of the Blaauw Observatory.
The Gratama Telescope in the dome of the Blaauw Observatory.

Digital newsletter

If you want to be kept informed about the public evenings and other activities of the observatory, please leave your name and e-mail address here. We will send an e-mail stating the coming activities with some regularity. In addition, various other astronomical events in Groningen are mentioned. When a flexible stargazing evening is taking place (depending on the weather), we will let you know through this newsletter. This e-mail address will only be used for these newsletters. If you would like to unsubscribe for the newsletter, click here.

Facebook and Twitter

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Large groups

In order to make an appointment, large groups, such as primary and secondary schools, are requested to contact us by email: sterrenwacht[at]astro[dot]rug[dot]nl . Having good weather would make it possible to set up a solar telescope, while having a guided tour during the day.

Astronomy course

The Kapteyn Institute regularly provides youth courses in astronomy for children up to 12 years. These courses consist of 5 course evenings. See this link for more information.

The Groninger Vereniging voor Weer- en Sterrenkunde (GVWS) also organizes periodic astronomy courses for adults in Winsum. For more information see their website:


The Blaauw Observatory is located in the Bernoulliborg (Nijenborgh 9) on the Zernike Campus in the north of the city of Groningen. On the Zernike Campus the Bernoulliborg is indicated at the signs. More information about the accessibility can be found here.

Last modified:14 February 2020 12.41 p.m.
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