Here you gaze through telescopes during National Stargazing Days

During the National Stargazing Days, which take place on 15, 16 and 17 March, visitors can peer through historical telescopes and learn more about the universe, including at public observatories. What happens in these observatories and what are special to visit this weekend?


During the National Stargazing Days, which take place on 15, 16 and 17 March, visitors can peer through historical telescopes and learn more about the universe, including at public observatories. What happens in these observatories and what are special to visit this weekend?

There are around thirty public observatories in the Netherlands, according to the Royal Dutch Society of Weather and Astronomy (KNVWS). As the name suggests, these observatories are primarily for the public and there is no real investigation (anymore).

"For professional astronomers, the Dutch observatories and telescopes are no longer that interesting," says Edwin Mathlener, former chairman of the KNVWS.

"They have access to much larger instruments worldwide. Our observatories and telescopes are intended purely for training and for the public." Four universities in the Netherlands offer courses in Physics and Astronomy, namely in Groningen, Leiden, Nijmegen and Amsterdam.

To look at the stars optimally, a dry climate is needed and research equipment that is high in the mountains, according to the KNVWS. The radio telescopes in the Netherlands are of international importance, such as those in Westerbork and in Exloo.

"Seeing yourself is different"

The National Stargazing Days will take place this weekend for the 43rd time at around sixty locations in the Netherlands.

"You can learn a lot about the universe by reading books or browsing the internet," says Mathlener. "But it's a kick to look through a telescope instead of photos, so you can see it for yourself, that's different."

"Many people are busy with daily life and accept the starry sky for notification," adds Mathlener. "But the universe is so much bigger than your own little world. Look up! And that doesn't have to be with an expensive telescope, but can also be done on a chair outside."

These special observatories can be visited during the National Stargazing Days:

Sonnenborgh - Utrecht

This observatory is beautifully situated in the bastion Sonnenborgh. There are three large telescopes that you can look into, one of which is the largest solar telescope in the Netherlands. If it is too cloudy, there is also the possibility to watch stars during performances in the Planetarium. In addition, there are lectures (also for children) about the universe and exoplanets.

  • Where: Sonnenborgh, Utrecht
  • When: March 15 and 16, between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.
  • Price: 7 euros
  • More information

Old Observatory - Leiden

Historical telescopes in a historic setting: you can find them in the Oude Sterrenwacht in Leiden. Albert Einstein has his footsteps here. Historical telescopes can be viewed during the Stargazing evenings. In addition, there is a light lab and a mobile planetarium. For small children there are special activities and there is a drawing competition.

  • Where: Oude Sterrenwacht, Leiden
  • When: March 16 from 2:00 pm to 11:00 pm, March 17 from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm
  • Price: free
  • More information

Observatory Tivoli - Oudenbosch

The oldest observatory in the Netherlands (1890) is in Oudenbosch. The observatory and the visitors will try to spot the moon and the Orion nebula from the observation dome on Saturday. In case of clouds, there is a tour in the observation loft and a film is offered.

  • Where: Tivoli Observatory, Oudenbosch
  • When: March 16, from 7 p.m.
  • Price: 5 euros
  • More information

Blaauw Observatory - Groningen

The special Gratama Telescope is in the Blaauw Observatory in Groningen and is one of the largest in the Netherlands. On Friday and Saturday, visitors can look into it themselves, or in one of the telescopes on the observation terrace. There are many extra activities such as lectures, an interactive exhibition and a star quiz for children.

  • Where: Blaauw Observatory, Groningen
  • When: March 15 and 16, 6 p.m. to about 11 p.m.
  • Price: free
  • More information

The Dwingeloo Radio Telescope - Dwingeloo

The radio telescope in the Dwingelderveld has a diameter of 25 diameter and is accessible during the Stargazing days. Even in cloudy weather, the radio waves just go through the clouds and demonstrations are given. Presentations can be seen in the nearby Mullerhuis, including a meteor scatter.

  • Where: Dwingeloo Radio telescope, Dwingeloo
  • When: March 16, 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm
  • Price: free, entrance radio telescope 2 euro for adults, 1 euro for youth
  • More information

Observatory Limburg - Heerlen

The only observatory in Limburg has put together interactive presentations lasting half an hour. The guard, which is beautifully situated on Brunssummerheide, has antique telescopes and a planetarium. If it is cloudy, visitors with the same ticket may come back another time.

  • Where: Limburg Observatory
  • When: March 15 and 16 from 7 pm to 11 pm
  • Price: 4 euros, children up to 6 years free
  • More information

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  • Have you ever been to an observatory? Which? And what did you think of it? Leave a comment below this message.

REF: https://www.nu.nl/uit/5788650/hier-tuur-je-tijdens-landelijke-sterrenkijkdagen-door-telescopen.html