Over 700 people visited the Blaauw Observatory at Bernoulliborg on the Landelijke Sterrenkijkdagen (national stargazing days) on 3 and 4 March. A record and an increase of at least a quarter on last year, despite the unfavourable weather.
No fewer than 320 visitors were counted on the Friday and 393 on the Saturday, whereas the total figure last year was 565, and the skies were clear then. This year’s
Landelijke Sterrenkijkdagen were plagued by cloud and even the odd shower. It was only at the end of the Friday evening that the moon and Jupiter broke through the clouds. The telescopes kept having to be removed from the terrace during the light showers throughout the evening, at which point the visitors were then given a talk about the telescopes in the control room of the observatory.
The first two or three groups on the Saturday were able to see the moon, Venus and Mars, but then the sky clouded over. As it only started to rain at the very end of the evening the telescopes could remain almost the whole time.
Luckily there were enough other things to do, and these ran according to plan. There were lectures by astronomers, things to do and make, and every sky imaginable projected in the Kapteyn Mobile Planetarium. The general response was one of enthusiasm. Among the visitors on the Friday were reporters from the Dagblad van het Noorden newspaper and NPO Radio 1.
Report: Marlies van de Weijgaert
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