Where in Europe can you find heaven on earth?  Science editors know what to do

Where in Europe can you find heaven on earth? Science editors know what to do

Statue of Deborah van der Schaaf

1. Admire Eise Eisinga’s brilliance in his planetarium

take care! It won’t be long before the moon and the planets Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter collide. Then the Earth will be thrown out of orbit and completely burnt up in the fiery atmosphere of our Sun.

Or at least: that’s how the story went in 1774, after Reverend Ilica Alta wrote it into a pamphlet. To prove that this prediction was a case of what we now call “fake news,” the Dutch amateur astronomer Isinga built between 1774 and 1781 in the ceiling of his living room in Franker a clock that has consistently shown the correct clock since the year of its full position of the planets in the solar system. Or well: without Uranus, which was only discovered that last year, that there was no longer room for the new planet. At present he is in his former home museumwith the planetarium still serving as a historic feature.

Holland, Franeker, Eise Eisinga Planetarium.  The oldest working planetarium in the world.  Statue of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for the French right / El Alami

Holland, Franeker, Eise Eisinga Planetarium. The oldest working planetarium in the world. UNESCO World Heritage SitesStatue of Lemmens French / Scientific

2. Experience the cosmic darkness of La Palma

Well, well: geographically, La Palma is the northwesternmost island in the Canary Islands, on the African coast. But for this astronomy, which is technically just Spanish territory, we like to expand the Europe-centric bases in this travel guide a bit.

First of all, the whole island is a dark area at night where you can perfectly observe the starry sky. And that’s partly why Star Island was introduced, As shop La Palma itselfMany astrology workshops by amateur astronomers.

Perhaps most interestingly, the island with Roque De Los Muchachos has an observatory atop a mountain. This not only provides panoramic views. Do you dare to trek to Visitor CenterThen you can meet the astronomers at work. The observatory is still used to conduct serious research into the universe.

Would you like to enjoy the dark, but would rather not get on a plane? Then you can also go to the Netherlands for no-light sites, including Terschelling and Lauwersmeer.

The Milky Way over the Canary Island of La Palma.  Image LightRocket via Getty Images

The Milky Way over the Canary Island of La Palma.Image LightRocket via Getty Images

3. Enjoy the solar system on Earth in Iceland

Those who want to enjoy otherworldly views can of course wait for space tourism to succeed so that you can book an affordable trip to the Moon or Mars as a private person. But at the moment it is more appropriate to look closely at the house.

Iceland, then, is a good choice. It is ridiculously close and shares geological features with the Moon and Mars, among others. Expert advice is to walk along Skútustaðagígar . excavation Near Lake Myvatn. So-called erupting craters, which are volcanic craters created after steam eruptions, can also be seen on the Red Planet. Walk beside it and you’ll walk through a landscape with copies right on Mars.

Lake Myvatn in the crater of the volcano in northern Iceland.  Image Arterra / Universal Images Group v

Lake Myvatn in the crater of the volcano in northern Iceland.Image Arterra / Universal Images Group v

4. Let us consider the remnants of the cosmic explosion that struck Germany

Every church hopes to bring its visitors into contact with the cosmic, but the builders St. George’s Church In Nördlingen they did it literally by mistake.

They built the church from locally mined suvite, a type of stone made partly of molten material. And what happened when geologists Eugene Shoemaker and Edward Chao studied the material in the 1960s? It contains, among other things, coesite, a mineral that can only form at extremely high pressures and temperatures above 700°C. On Earth, you can find it deep in the mantle, 80 kilometers below the surface, but it also appears during nuclear tests, and as in this case: a meteorite impact.

About 14 million years ago, within about an hour-and-a-half’s walk from the church in question, a kilometer-and-a-half-wide space rock crashed into the Earth’s surface. It made a dent about 15 miles in diameter – known today as Nordlinger Race Crater – which you can still recognize from a distance in the green landscape.

Climb the steeple, enjoy the view and have a special cosmic experience: from the impact rock, you can see the landmarks of the heart of the city below, roughly the size of the impacted meteorite, while the slope of the crater is visible on the horizon.

St. George's Church in Nordlingen.  Image Universal Images Group via Getty

St. George’s Church in Nordlingen.Image Universal Images Group via Getty

5. Learn about the highest astronomy in Drenthe

Early this year, astronomers unveiled another million cosmic objects that no human has ever seen, a mountain of information so huge that it could fill the hard drives of 20,000 laptops. In this way, astronomers have seen wonderful things, from black holes exploding bubbles to a star spinning more slowly than science previously thought possible.

Each of these strange cosmic men was discovered using the Dutch radio telescope (in part) Lofar, made up of about twenty thousand antennas located in different countries. Tie them all together and the result is an unprecedentedly powerful and accurate instrument that belongs to the absolute global pinnacle of astronomy.

Moreover, a tool that you can visit. For example, between Exloo and Bruinen in Drenthe, in Hunzedal, there is a plot of about 400 hectares where the universe and nature suddenly meet. Not only can you spot all kinds of birds while walking – leave the dog at home – you’ll also find Lofar antennas in swamps and grassy landscapes studying the universe with unprecedented precision. On organized excursions in the area, you can learn more about both nature and the special scientific instruments that can be seen here among the grass and birds.

Part of the Dutch Lofar Radio Telescope, near Exloo in Drenthe.  Statue of Lovar / Astron

Part of the Dutch Lofar Radio Telescope, near Exloo in Drenthe.Statue of Lovar / Astron

Thanks to Marieke Baan (NOVA) and Sebastiaan de Vet (TU Delft)

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