-by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe-


I’ll always be grateful:
to Alastair McBeath
(U.K., Vice-President of the International Meteor Organization),
the first who encouraged me in 1997 to be myself
and to risk creating astropoetry shows
(complex spectacles of poetry and arts on astronomical themes)
and astro-photo-art-poetry exhibitions
in the scientific surroundings
of the International Meteor Conferences and other international astronomical events,
to my compatriot Gelu-Claudiu Radu,
who performed with me the firsts of them in 1997-2003,
and to the famous astronomer David Asher (U.K.),
the first stranger who in 2000 recited an astropoem in
the “Romanian” Astropoetry Shows of the IMCs,
making them become international.

The Astropoetry Show series -
founded by me and the Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy (SARM)
at the International Meteor Conference 1997 in Petnica (Serbia),
and appreciated in 2007 in the Journal of the International Meteor Organization,
as “legendary” by the main creator of this organization,
Paul Roggemans (Belgium) -
was a happy way for me
to find more about the sensibility and creativity
of many admirable sky lovers.

And this is the reason for which now,
in the moment of analysis of my “astro-poetic-artistic” life,
represented by the end of the International Year of Astronomy,
I recall some of my favourite memories on humanist attitudes
of some of the astronomers I met in the last 12 years…

Andrei Dorian Gheorghe reads his astropoetry
at the International Meteor Conference 2003 in Bollmannsruh (Germany)
Photo: Casper ter Kuile (Holland)


At the International Meteor Conference 1998 in Stara Lesna (Slovakia),
before SARM’s Astropoetry Show,.
I had the honour to make an interview with the famous Czech astronomer
Zdenek Ceplecha
(founder of the European Fireball Network;
in 1980 an asteroid was named after him;
unfortunately, he died in the autumn of 2009, when he was 80 years old).
I reproduce below a confession of Zdenek Ceplecha from that interview,
which moved me very much:

“When I was younger, I wrote poems in the Czech language;
you know that in your native language
sometimes you feel the passion of the self
and want to obtain comfort and relief of your feelings,
this is the reason for writing poetry.
Those poems of mine are very general,
they almost do not include science and meteors,
but express what life is,
or what I think life is,
or what I feel life is.
All those poems are put in a drawer of my work table.
But some of my friends say those are good poems,
and (who knows?)
maybe they will publish them after my death.”

IMC 1998: Zdenek Ceplecha reads SARM’s magazine
Us and the Sky (“Noi si Cerul”)
Photo: Valentin Grigore


Also at the IMC 1998, after our Astropoetry Show,
the first who came to me and congratulated me
was even Jack Baggaley (New Zealand,
President of the International Astronomical Union Commission “22”;
an asteroid discovered in 1990 was named after him).
I shall never forget his brightened face when he said to me:

“It’s great! It’s really great!”

Then he wrote the following words
for SARM’s magazine “Noi si Cerul” (Us and the Sky):

“I send to all Romanian meteor people
greetings from the International Astronomical Union Commission 22
(Meteors and Interplanetary Dust).
Please continue your fine and interesting work in studies of meteors.
With best wishes,
Jack Baggaley

IMC 1998: Applauds for SARM’s Astropoetry Show
(Jack Baggaley in the centre)
Photo: Stefan Berinde


During the IMC 1998 too, we met a very sensible lady,
Shelagh Godwin
(U.K., meteor section assistant director to
Britain’s Society for Popular Astronomy).
After that conference, she published one of the first chronicles
of SARM’s Astropoetry Shows in the SPA Meteor Section Annual Review 1998,
which I reproduce below:

“…The same evening we were treated to vivid illustrated accounts
of the Czech and Slovak summer observing camps,
and hilarious entertainment presented by the Romanians
Valentin Grigore and Andrei Dorian Gheorghe,
consisting of astro-poetry, singing, dancing and taped ‘space music’.
As evidenced by their papers on Sunday morning,
the Romanians see meteor observing as more than a science,
they concentrate also on the cultural and spiritual aspects of meteor observing
by encouraging everyone from schoolchildren to professors
to contribute astro-poetry which is then published.”

IMC 1998: SARM’s astro-photo-art-poetry-exhibition
Photo: Valentin Grigore


In April 2000 during the festive evening
at NASA’s Leonid Workshop in Tel-Aviv (Israel),
Valentin Grigore and I presented a Leonid Astropoetry Show
at the Maganda restaurant.
But before it, finding some spatial problems in that “auditorium”
I was a little depressed.
Then even Ilan Manulis
(minor bodies director of the Israeli Astronomical Association;
an asteroid was named after him in 2000)
came to me and said one of the most beautiful encouragements in my life:

“Do not hesitate to start the Astropoetry Show, please.
Nobody knows how it will be,
but I’m sure it will be extraordinary.”

Ilan Manulis was right,
and now I’m glad I listened to him.
As an argument, a few days after that workshop,
Valentin Grigore and I received a message even from
the Workshop Chairman and the Chief Scientist of NASA’s Leonid Project,
Peter Jenniskens (U.S.A.;
an asteroid discovered in 1999 was named after him):

“Thank you for the nice performance.”

NASA’s Leonid Workshop 2000, Israel:
Valentin Grigore and Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
during the excursion of the event


At the Astropoetry Show of the International Meteor Conference 2000
in Pucioasa (Romania), the Romanian teacher Ioan Adam
(editor of the astronomical magazine “Pasi spre Infinit” - Steps towards the Infinite)
coordinated a savoury act in which three of his girl students
from the “Mihai Eminescu” High School , Birlad,
performed a “planetary” fashion show.
Before that moment, he said to me:

“It is fine
when a few beautiful girls personify planets.
But it is more complicated
to make the spectators guess who they are.”

IMC 2000: The Planets’ Fashion Show
Photo: Casper ter Kuile (Holland)


The Argentinean radio astronomer Juan Martin Semegone
was the second International Meteor Conference participant from out of Romania
(after the famous British astronomer David Asher)
who read poems at SARM’s Astropoetry Shows.
This happened at the IMC 2001 in Cerkno (Slovenia),
where at the end of the event a dense rain began to fall.
Then the same Juan Martin Semegone said:

“The Slovenian sky is crying
for the departure of the meteor lovers...”

IMC 2001: Juan Martin Semegone during the Astropoetry Show
Photo: Javor Kac (Slovenia; now Editor of WGN -
the Journal of the International Meteor Organization)


At the International Meteor Conference 2002 in Frombork (Poland)
I was especially impressed by the lecture of the Polish astronomer
Mariusz Wisniewski
(5 years later he was also an actor in the Astropoetry Show
of the IMC 2007 in Barèges, France),
who transformed his meteor study into a spectacular combination of
astronomy, graphics and music, practically a heavenly dance.
After I congratulated him, he said to me:

“I’ve always thought that in astronomical presentations
science and art must merge.”

IMC 2002: Mariusz Wisniewski (up, the 4th from the right, in a group of participants)
Photo: Casper ter Kuile (Holland)


At the International Meteor Conference 2005 in Oostmalle (Belgium),
the Dutch group (Casper ter Kuile, Arnold Tukkers and Jos Nijland)
and the Belgian group (Jean-Marc Wislez, Cis Verbeeck, Gert Barentsen,
Paul Roggemans, Marc Gyssens, etc.)
marked a considerable enlarging of the Astropoetry Show.
Before that, at the IMC 2003 in Bollmannsruh (Germany),
one of those sky lovers, the main photo-chronicler of the IMCs,
Casper ter Kuile (from the Dutch Meteor Society),
wanted to make a special picture with the SARM astro-artists
after their Astropoetry Show.
A gesture beyond words.

IMC 2003: The SARM team (Valentin Grigore, Andrei Dorian Gheorghe,
Adriana Nicolae, Gelu-Claudiu Radu and Ionut Ilesoi)
Photo: Casper ter Kuile (Holland)


Another Dutch friend,
Arnold Tukkers (from the Lattrop Cosmos Observatory),
impressed during the Astropoetry Show
of the International Meteor Conference 2006 in Roden (Holland)
by presenting a meteor tattooed on his shoulder.
Before that, also at the IMC 2003 in Bollmannsruh (Germany),
he awarded a prize (from his foundation, “Star Friends”)
to SARM and its president Valentin Grigore.
Then, at the end of the conference, bursting into tears,
he said to the SARM group:

“My dear astro-artists,
I’ll miss you so much!”

IMC 2003: Valentin Grigore and Arnold Tukkers
Photo: Casper ter Kuile (Holland)


In 2004 I invited the famous French astronomer
Jeremie Vaubaillon (from the Paris Observatory)
to compose a song and to sing it
at the International Meteor Conference in Varna (Bulgaria).
He successfully did it, and received enthusiastic ovations from the audience.
Below, I have reproduced the newest variant of a stanza
from Jeremie Vaubaillon’s Song of the IMC:

“I guarantee never in your dreams
Could you concoct the Romanian team
Just for the show of astropoetry
Don’t want to leave the IMC
You have to come
You have to come to the IMC”

IMC 2004: Jeremie Vaubaillon sings The Song of the IMC
Photo: Rainer Arlt (Germany)


When we drank a beer at the International Meteor Conference 2005
in Oostmalle (Belgium),
the British scientist Geoffrey H. Grayer recited a few English poems.
After that, he performed two of his own remarkable astropoetry acts
during the Astropoetry Shows of the International Meteor Conferences
2006 (in Roden, Holland) and 2007 (in Bareges, France).
And when we drank another beer at one of those events,
he said to me:

“I certainly love astronomy,
but don’t you see
how much I like poetry?”

IMC 2007: Geoffrey H. Grayer recites his astropoetry,
accompanied by Stanislav Kaniansky (Slovakia)
Photo: Jean-Marc Wislez (Belgium)


At the International Meteor Conference 2008 in Sachticka (Slovakia),
which took place at a fine and isolated mountain hotel,
one of the organizers, Juraj Toth
(astronomer at Comenius University, Bratislava, and discoverer of asteroids),
kindly asked me:

“Where do you prefer to perform the Astropoetry Show?
In the joyous restaurant room
(like in 2000 at NASA’s Leonid Workshop in Tel-Aviv)
or in the sober conference room?
We shall do as you wish, my friend.”

Obviously, for technical reasons,
I preferred the second variant, and when I read a few astropoems,
I was accompanied by guitars of the two main conference organizers,
Stanislav Kaniansky and Daniel Ocenas (former Chair of
the International Astronomical Union Division III
Commission 22 WG Professional-Amateur Cooperation in Meteors).
Practically, two astronomical observatory directors who also were rockers!
I reproduce below some memorable words they said to me.

Stanislav Kaniansky:

“I always do my best
for my friends and for sky lovers.”

Daniel Ocenas:

“We are people,
so where there is astronomy, it can be music too.”

IMC 2008: Juraj Toth, Stanislav Kaniansky and Daniel Ocenas receive
Valentin Grigore’s album “Targovistea Cosmica” from the author
Photo: Bogdan Calin


Also during the Astropoetry Show of the IMC 2008,
two members of the Israeli Astronomical Association,
Shlomi Eini and Shy Halatzi,
performed an amusing meteor sketch.
But soon after their act,
a computer problem forced me to call for a five minute break,
in which I left the room to
think of the spectacle continuation.
When I came back, I saw Shlomi Eini repairing the computer like a magician,
and saying some words which I’d like to hear every time I am in trouble:

“One minute, please,
and all will be O.K.”

The other Israeli astronomer, Shy Halatzi, gave us another fine surprise
a few weeks after the event, when he published a chronicle of the IMC 2008,
from which I reproduce below two phrases regarding the Astropoetry Show:

“The Astroshow was the highlight of social activities, in my opinion,
an unforgettable experience (…)
Many thanks and greetings to Valentin Grigore and Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
for orchestrating this magnificent evening,
a fantastic combination of art, science and comedy.”

IMC 2008: Group photo by Valentin Grigore


About 30 years ago, the Germanman Hans-Georg Schmidt
had an important role
in creating the International Meteor Conference as a regular annual event.
At the IMC 2008, he honoured the Astropoetry Show by performing
a charming role in which he personified the Geminid meteor shower.
I reproduce below a short dialogue which we had in those days
at the Maximilian Hell Planetarium and Observatory in Slovakia.

Hans-Georg Schmidt:

“Sometimes I ask myself
why those who have something really important to do
(many of them sky lovers)
must lose a lot of time in a stressful job.”

Andrei Dorian Gheorghe:

“Since meteor lovers must defeat bad weather
to be able to watch fascinating autumn meteor showers,
maybe in the same way this can be a trial
for touching real light.”

IMC 2008: Hans-Georg Schmidt and Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
during the cultural excursion
Photo: Rainer Arlt (Germany; Visual Commission Director
of the International Meteor Organization)


During the introductory events of the International Year of Astronomy,
organized in January 2009
by the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO in Paris
(the Opening Ceremony and Symposium 260),
Valentin Grigore and I had the unique opportunity to realize
a SARM astro-photo-art-poetry exhibition, a poster
and a lecture (which included a short astropoetry show).
We were also very lucky to have as the Session Chair a fascinating lady,
Julieta Fierro
(from the Astronomy Institute of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico;
author of tens of popular science books, famous for her astronomical broadcasts,
laureate of the Kalinga Prize at UNESCO
and of many other awards).
She was delighted to watch our astropoetry show
(during IAU-UNESCO Symposium 260
“The Role of Astronomy in Society and Culture”),
and in a way prolonged it
by performing finally a spontaneous and short astral dance with me.
A few weeks after the event,
I informed her by e-mail about the launching of our web photo-chronicle
“SARM at UNESCO-IAU-IYA under the Sign of Galileo”
(in which we reproduced our entire astropoetry show),
and her enthusiastic answer was:

“What a wonderful gift!
Thank you,
you made a great job bringing so many fine things together.
Best wishes,

IAU Symposium 260, UNESCO, 2009:
Julieta Fierro, Andrei Dorian Gheorghe, Valentin Grigore
and some of the spectators after SARM’s astropoetry show
Photo: Catalin Mosoia


December 2009…
I feel in debt to repeat that nothing from
the astropoetry shows and the astro-photo-art-poetry exhibitions
(simply, these can be named cosmopoetry events)
that I directed between 1997 and 2009
at international astronomical events
would have happened without the support of my parents,
Steliana and Costica Gheorghe.
But as now
both of them are in other space,
closer to the stars,
I don’t know my future regarding these initiatives.
So that after all
I have to conclude:

If you love the world
and have many things to do,
then leave the sky to write, through people,
stories for you.

SARM’s astro-photo-art-poetry exhibition during the Opening Ceremony
of the International Year of Astronomy, UNESCO, Paris, January 2009
Photo: Valentin Grigore