Outreach

My outreach forms part of the extensive outreach programme of the Kapteyn Institute. It is our goal to use astronomy to interest children, students, and everyone in society into science. For this we use natural phenomena, such as eclipses and transits, as an excuse to organise activities. We rfegularly organise activiteit on our campus, centered on tours to the Blaauw Observatory, with talks on current topics, mobile planetarium shows, etc. On top of that there are activities for children, involving a lot of volunteers of the Kapteyn Institute. We always participate in Zpannend Zernike, the Nacht van de Nacht, en de Landelijke Sterrenkijkdagen. Since recently, we also organise activities in Lauwersoog. We regularly appear in the press, including local and national TV, and newspapers. Our outreach coordinator used to be Marlies van de Weijgaert, and we are looking for someone to replace her.


At this moment my own outreach activities  concentrate on the Dark Sky Park Lauwersmeer. Here, I led a team that built the 
Dark Sky Park Lauwersmeer. Telescope.  This is a robotic telescope, that will be used by srudents of the University of Groningen, as well as others, such as amateurs. The telescope was built with a grant of the Gratama Stichting. Here you can find a powerpoint presentation about the building of the telescope.


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The Dark Sky Park Lauwersmeer. Telescope is located on the premises of Staatsbosbeheer. at Activiteitencentrum Lauwersnest. This activity center is open to the public, and has a permanent exhibition, about birds and astronomy. Below is a picture of the wall. On the left the wall on the far left, and on the right the back wall.


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I am co-leading a set of activities to create awareness for darkness in the North of the Netherlands. This is the programme 'Donkerte van de Wadden', funded by the Waddenfonds. This programme, of 1.5M euro, is a programme with lots of activities, of which we are a large partner.

One of the acrivities of Donkerte van de Wadden is to develop a sensor network across the North of the Netherlands. With this sensor network we are monitoring the night sky brightness in real time. It allows us to see long-term changes in light pollution. See washetdonker.nl. Since 2021 I have started a programme to analyze the data. Below we show that the sky across the North or the Netherlands was 10% darker in March and April 2020, as compared to other months. This is probably due to the COVID Lockdown. This work was done by bachelor student Lasse Vulto, under my supervision.


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