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Groningen enjoys dark night in Blaauw Observatory

28 October 2014

A dark night was enjoyed by all on the tenth Night of the Night, which took place on Saturday 25 October. The Blaauw Observatory welcomed a record 330 visitors this year. With their annual Night of the Night, the Natuur en Milieufederaties (Nature and Environment Federations) wish to highlight the consequences of light pollution and the importance of dark night skies.

Stargazing on the roof of the Bernoulliborg building
Stargazing on the roof of the Bernoulliborg building

Despite initial cloud cover, now and then a bright star like Vega or Altair appeared through a gap in the clouds. Later on the clouds cleared for longer intervals, revealing the double star Alcor and Mizar , the beautiful Pleiades star cluster and the nearby Andromeda Galaxy . The public could admire them through the Gratama Telescope and the telescopes of a few amateur astronomers.

As well as looking at the night sky, children could also build their own telescope in the Bernoulliborg building. This resulted in surprised reactions: ‘It really works!’ Visitors could also watch a planetarium show in the Kapteyn Mobile Planetarium or see the Science LinX science exhibition.

The observatory held a photo competition especially for the Night of the Night, which was won by 13-year-old Annemarijn Zwerver from Onderdendam. She painted the Orion constellation and held this painting up to the daytime sky, so that you can see the night during the day. After all, the stars are still there in the daytime; it is just that the Earth’s atmosphere prevents you from seeing them.

Annemarijn Zwerver’s winning photo and Annemarijn receiving her prize
Annemarijn Zwerver’s winning photo and Annemarijn receiving her prize

The jury, which included Professor of Astronomy Marc Verheijen (founder of the Blaauw Observatory) and Groningen photographer Robert Mulder, said that the photo demonstrated an enormous passion for astronomy and art. Annemarijn has been fascinated by astronomy from a young age and is looking forward to a night of stargazing at the Blaauw Observatory, the first prize in the competition.

The Blaauw Observatory has a monthly ‘flexible stargazing evening’, weather permitting. See the website for more information.

Last modified:10 June 2015 2.56 p.m.
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