REDISCOVERING ROYAL ROMANIA
THROUGH ITS FIRST STATE OBSERVATORY


Text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
Special guest astrophotographer Valentin Grigore
Design Florin Alexandru Stancu

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We don’t know too much about the activities in amateur astronomy
of King Carol I (1866-1914),
considered the founder of the Romanian modern state.

But we know that he used to make astronomical observations
in the first modern Romanian astronomical observatory
and had a direct contribution in the making of its cupola.

So that we can just suppose that
astronomy beneficially inspired him
for a brilliant rulership in Romanian history.

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This picture with the Crowned Moon over the southern sky of Romania
was taken by the president of SARM, Valentin Grigore, in 2019-12-11,
when this country celebrated 160 years from the creation
of the Romanian Topometry Service.

The history of this special service became connected later
to the creation in 1895 of the Astronomical Military Observatory
in Bucharest,
(after the efforts of general Constantin I. Bratianu,
chief of the scientific warfare depot),
which, today, seems to be just a mysterious building
for those who walk through the Youth Park,
is hidden among the trees, on a hill,
is not open for the public at large
and is dedicated to national works of
geodesy, cartography and topometry.

(In fact, today the walkers through the park can see,
among the surrounding trees,
only the lofty “cupola of King Carol I”.)

But its astronomical beginning was quite remarkable,
marked by the donation of instruments
made by the first state astronomer of united Romania,
Constantin Capitaneanu,
and by the astronomical observations
made by King Carol I.



2016 brought 180 years from the birth of King Carol I
and on May 11th I went to the Youth Park,
where I admired the dusk over the lake,
I followed the Moon until I arrived in front of
the Polyvalent Hall (made in the 1970s)
and I surrounded the observatory zone,
but I saw nothing because of the trees,
except for the… excerpt of a dark silhouette.























































Then I returned to the lake,
where I saw Venus (down on the right of the Moon)
and the stars of the Summer Triangle:
Deneb (up over the Moon),
Vega (very high)
and Altair (small, on the left of the Moon).

And finally, perhaps in memory of King Carol I,
the Moon caught crown…













In January 2019
I programmed a new tour around the Astronomical Military Observatory.

On January 12th I watched the sunset near its young neighbor
(placed at less than 1 kilometer distance. in the same park),
the observatory of the National Children’s Palace,
and a closeness between the Moon and Mars (admired by an airplane).

On the morning of January 13th
I watched the closeness between Venus and a… street lamp,
then the sunrise,
and I started to the park for a walk through the snow.

This time the trees were leafless,
so I could see better from the distance the cupola
of the Astronomical Military Observatory,
which was added at the request of King Carol I.



















































I stopped there just because
a fine solar halo over that zone made me admire it.







Then… a few images over the Youth Park
with the Crowned Moon
(2019-02-24, 2019-03-16),
the Moon among the clouds
(2019-03-19. 2019-03-20),
the Morning Moon among the revived leafs,
followed by two doves as symbols of peace
(2019-03-25),
friendly clouds
(2019-03-29)…



























…And I programmed another tour
around the Astronomical Military Observatory,
not before seeing how Earth Hour was imagined in Bucharest
(2019-03-30).

I began with the Winter Triangle over the Youth Park
(15 minutes before the event)
and then, in the centre of the town,
I continued with dark-light comparisons for two involved buildings
(the Intercontinental Hotel and the Palace of Parliament)
and I ended with Arcturus (small because of light pollution)
over the National Library
and, later, with the same star (bigger because of the natural environment)
over the Youth Park.















On the next morning (2019-03-31)
I watched Jupiter, the Moon and the sunrise over the Youth Park,
I passed near the observatory of the National Children’s Palace
and I crossed again the same zone in the Youth Park
(climbing for a short time more stairs toward the Sun!),
and finally…
I happily saw the Astronomical Military Observatory
surrounded by blossoms!













































































Near an astronomical observatory
It is a great satisfaction
To see in every blossomed tree
An earthly constellation.



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© 2019 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)