On Saturday, October 24, 2015, lights were put out across the country for the 11th 'Night of Nights', organized by the Nature and Environment Federations. Unfortunately thick clouds covered the sky during the entire night. Nevertheless, in the province of Groningen alone more than 1500 enthusiasts participated in the Night of Nights with various 'dark' activities. Of these 275 people visited the Blaauw Observatory in the Bernoulliborg at the Zernike Campus, in the hope to catch a glimpse of stars and wonder about the universe.
Astronomer Inga Kamp (Kapteyn Astronomical Institute) talked about life in the universe and visitors made a trip to alien worlds in a mobile planetarium. Children actively used the ample opportunities for crafting and experimenting.
Under the supervision of SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research they enthusiastically created comets with dry ice.
The children also carefully sculpted clay models of dwarf planet Pluto, its moon Charon and comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko. At science exhibition Science LinX they eagerly and curiously investigated the workings of magnets and tornadoes.
The 8-year-old Bikkel Beuker from Groningen won the VIP tour in the Blaauw Observatory with a score of 9 correct answers at the Star Quiz. He may bring his friends for a private evening of stargazing.
And occasionally the Moon did appear through the clouds, allowing a close-up of its craters through the telescopes. Despite the clouds the Night of Nights was again a success. Hopefully we have become more aware of light pollution. With the Night of Nights the observing season has also been opened as the winter nights become darker and longer. Each month young and old will have the opportunity to admire the stars at the Blaauw Observatory, see the website for more information.
Report: Marlies van de Weijgaert, Blaauw Observatory.
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