11.03.2009 A Trip To The Stars
Namibia Celebrates The International Year Of Astronomy
Frankfurt, March 2009. With its unbelievable endlessness and fascinating star splendour, the mysterious night sky has captivated humans since the earliest times. Exactly 400 years ago, Galileo Galilei made his first sky observations laying ground for modern astronomy and revolutionising old worldviews. To celebrate this special anniversary, UNESCO has declared the year 2009 as the „Year of Astronomy“. In more than 130 countries, scientific institutions organise special shows and exhibitions featuring the universe. Namibia will also take part hosting various events.
For a long time, the country in Southern Africa has been known as a paradise for stargazers. Almost no light and air pollution, wide open spaces, cloudless night skies and excellent observatories are ideal preconditions for a clear view of the cosmos. For 2009, astronomers predict spectacular sky formations in Namibia. In mid-October great views of Jupiter and its moons can be enjoyed; a major meteor shower is expected in November.
Amateur astronomers may also get a little closer to heaven in Namibia. Several guest farms feature observatories on their properties offering fascinating views and pictures of galaxies, nebulae and star clusters. Hakos Guest Farm for example, situated near the Gamsberg, maintains an International Amateur Observatory. Tivoli Southern Sky Guest Farm also provides a privately owned observatory. Situated 1345 metres above sea level, the farm lies about 180 kilometres south-easterly of the capital Windhoek in the middle of the Kalahari at the Tropic of Capricorn.
Due to ideal conditions, Namibia was chosen to be the location for the international scientific project High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S) in 2003. It encompasses a system of 4 telescopes installed on a farm at the Gamsberg. In the middle of the Namibian wilderness, international scientists search for high-level radiation from outer space. The aim is to identify the correlations of the cosmos for a better understanding of the universe.
Further accommodation facilities in Namibia, which offer stargazing activities:
Amani Lodge - www.packsafari.com/german/de/namibia/accommodation/amani_d.htm
Eningu Clayhouse Lodge – www.eningulodge.com
Hakos Guest Farm - www.natron.net/tour/hakos
Namtib Desert Lodge - Astrofarm - www.tivoli-astrofarm.de
Guest Farm Niedersachsen - www.farm-niedersachsen.com
Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge www.sossusvlei-namibia.com
Vogelstrausskluft Country Lodge - www.vogelstrausskluft.com
Further information on the „Year of Astronomy“:
Contact Tourist Board:
Namibia Tourism Board
60313 Frankfurt am Main
Tel. 0049 - (0)69 – 13 37 36 0
Fax 0049 - (0)69 – 13 37 36 15