Last month I attended the reopening of the only stargazers facility in Limburg (the county in the southeast of the Netherlands, where I live). It’s located in the beautiful Brunssummerheide forest, where I grew up, and so it’s very dear to me. I had already heard a new group of astronomy enthusiasts were making sure the ‘scope could still be used (and I had contacted them about the possibility of a TV crew filming at their place). I pretty much surprised them with a visit though.
Photo: Sterrenwacht Limburg
I just tweeted that I was going. And that I kept fingers crossed for clear skies (figuratively, of course, as I was cycling – yes, my life is that glamorous really). It was proper (amateur) astronomer weather: freezing cold. But hardly any clouds to spoil the party and when I arrived ‘Sex On The Beach’ (!) welcomed visitors from the speakers. It was a fun night, with a good amount of interested visitors. And after the official opening, we looked up at Luna and Jupiter.
I also tweeted enthusiastically: “Whoo, I just took this picture of the Moon, I’m an amateur astronomer!” And I took it with my iPhone! I cheated a bit, taking it through the telescope (as I had been doing with my microscope), but it still impressed some others and even inspired them to try the same. I stayed in the dome the rest of the evening and had some fun conversations. One guy told me excitedly that a very famous university teacher who discovered her own object would come tonight!
I guess she’s not all that famous. Although there were people present who had recognised me too. And naturally I had a chat with Jan-Willem, who once gave my Zoo friends and I a nice tour here. I also spotted a picture on the ‘history wall’, of that time I gave a lecture about my discovery (the first and only time in my hometown!) As of now, many more of these evenings will be organised and as the end of this week is the weekend of the National Stargazing Days, I can recommend a visit!
Last two pictures taken by Boi Janssen.