-text and photos by Valentin Grigore-

In 2010 September 2-4
I participated together with my fellow Mihail Robescu and his son
at the 10th European Symposium for the Protection of the Night Sky
in the Hungarian town of Kaposvar.

I was there to present ideas and proposals for combating light pollution
at a global level,
and to exhibit my poster with images of the nocturnal sky
in the Carpathian Mountains.

The event was organized by the
International Dark-Sky Association Europe,
International Dark-Sky Association Hungary,
Hungarian Astronomical Association
and other Magyar institutions,
and led by Zoltan Kollath (President of HAA),
in a country receptive to this problem.

The participants came not only from Europe,
but also from USA and Japan.
There were also representatives of
the International Astronomical Union (Commission 50)
and the International Commission on Illumination.
The lectures covered all the fields affected by light pollution:
astronomy, ecology, biology, health, environment, etc.,
and finally there was a festivity dedicated to the IDA Awards.

In the last evening,
the hosts gave a reception at a rustic mansion
in a place without light pollution…

… followed by a walk in a dark forest
and sky observations in a zone with an open horizon.

Afterwards we travelled through Croatia on highway,
through the Dinaric Alps, through many tunnels and viaducts,
and arrived in Split, on the shore of the Adriatic Sea,
whence we went by ferryboat to Lastovo,
the second destination in our expedition.

It was fine that our road was accompanied by a complex halo,
which displayed a lot of beauties
(22 degrees radius circular halo, parhelia, upper tangent arc,
circumzenithal arc, etc.)…

We could also admire a superb sunset…

In the Croatian island of Lastovo
we participated at the 3rd International Symposium for Dark-Sky Parks
and the 3rd International Dark-Sky Camp,
supported by the Slovenian and Croatian Commission for UNESCO,
Croatian Astronomical Union, other institutions and associations,
and organized by Andrej Mohar and Erika Pogacnik
from Dark Sky Slovenia.

Lastovo… the largest island
among 46 islands of the archipelago… Lastovo,
only 46 km square with 46 hills, 46 fields and 46 churches,
but a dreamland for any tourist
and the blackest sky in Europe.

A military fortress in the past,
today Lastovo is a fortress against light pollution…

Although the weather was rather capricious,
finally we received clear heavens as a gratification,
and could admire fantastic images of the south-east sky,
where Sirius’ shine,
Orion’s imposing figure,
and the Twin Brothers
were furrowed by a few meteors,
and the brightest zodiacal light I ever saw
climbed from Leo to Cancer and to Gemini…

Returning home,
we enjoyed the dance of the waterfalls
in the luxuriant Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Then we stayed a little in the Serbian Capital,
where we saw the largest cathedral in the Balkan Peninsula,
Saint Sava…

… And continued our road on the Serbian side of the Danube River
in the Cazane zone.

Before crossing the largest river in the European Union
to our native country,
we were delighted by seeing, on the Romanian side,
an amazing church, Macronia,
and the impressive statue of Decebalux Rex,
the greatest Dacian King before the Roman conquest.

But nothing compares with the beauty
of an unpolluted sky!


English translation from the Romanian: Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
Design: Florin Stancu

© 2010 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)