“Especially these days, when the moon itself is not visible, it is dark enough to admire the Milky Way,” Bott explains. “But you have to go to the east or north of the country to escape the air pollution. This is still possible in Zealand, but not in the Randstad anymore.”
Dark Sky Park
Birds morning Reporter Henny Radstack poses with astronomer Butt on a clear, cool evening at the Izumakij Lookout. This is also a well-known point among bird watchers. It is located in the Lauwersmeer National Park on the Wadden Coast and on the border between Groningen and Friesland. Although you can constantly hear geese in the background, Radstaak is not there for the birds but for the stars.
It’s pitch black, and it’s no coincidence that the area has been declared a Dark Sky Park. Especially on clear winter evenings like this, when there is a new moon, this is one of the hot spots in the Netherlands to get a good view of the Milky Way. The Milky Way is the galaxy in which we find ourselves along with the Earth and the Sun.
Looking back in time
So we’re looking inside our Milky Way Galaxy, which is made up of 200 to 400 billion stars. “I think the great thing is to look deep into the universe. In astronomical terms, the individual stars we see are relatively close, but they’re still thousands of billions of kilometers away. If you see the faint band of the Milky Way, that’s much further away. Away. So the universe is much larger. But there are also many other galaxies.”
Geoffrey points to the Andromeda Galaxy, directly above us. We see a faint spot of light. “It’s 2.5 million light-years away. So we’re looking back in time, because it took 2.5 million years for the light to reach us.”