FROM INDEPENDENCE WAR
TO PEACE THROUGH ASTRONOMY
-text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
design Florin Alexandru Stancu
special guest astrophotographer Valentin Grigore (president of SARM)-
Somewhere in the Capital City of Romania, on a central boulevard
(named after Lascar Catargiu,
prime-minister of Romania a few times in the 19th century),
Admiral Vasile Urseanu (1848-1926)
made a private astronomical observatory in the form of a yacht in 1910,
that building becoming later the Bucharest Municipal Observatory.
I “normally” saw it in for the last time
in April 2014.
I came back here in March 2015
and this time I saw it in renovation.
However, in spite of light pollution,
I photographically caught its cupola near
Sirius, Venus and the Moon.
Vasile Urseanu was a Danubian hero during the independence war (1877-1878)
against the Ottoman Empire,
then the first commander of the first Romanian school-ship
(Mircea, named after the Romanian “voievod” and “domnitor”
who defeated the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid in the 14th century),
and co-founder of the Romanian commercial fleet.
He led the first Romanian ship which crossed the Atlantic Ocean,
and was decorated with
Ottoman, German, Danish, Swedish and Austrian distinctions.
After his retirement,
because Urseanu was also an amateur astronomer
with political influence and financial power,
Victor Anestin (the first Romanian champion in popularizing astronomy)
chose him as the president of the first Romanian astronomical society in 1908.
So that Urseanu felt indebted to make this observatory,
preferring for it the form of a yacht,
to remember the moments when, floating on the sea,
he admired the stars.
This metamorphosis, from a man of war to a man of peace, fascinated me,
so I have to confess that in 12 August 2013, the Marine Day in Romania,
I was in Braila on the bank of Danube
(a river where Vasile Urseanu fought for the independence of his country)
too see the local festivities
and to imagine the glorious past of the Romanian Danubian fleet.
(Obviously, the ceremony was ampler,
including the appearance of Neptune, the god of seas!)
Returned home, I tried, in honor of Vasile Urseanu,
a short astrophotographic poem, including:
-the observatory pushed by the Sun
as a celestial propeller;
-the painting from inside the observatory,
photographed by Valentin Grigore,
with the Admiral and his wife
(so the president of the first national astronomical society
in the photo-vision of the president of the second national astronomical society,
SARM being founded 85 years later, in 1993);
-the observatory called by the Sun
as a heavenly ideal.
In 9 April 2014
I tried another one,
this time with the observatory under the Moon
as the admiral of the evening sky.
And I ended with an astro-photo-poem (cosmopoem) with:
-the Moon (admiral of the night sky)
and Mars (the former god of war in mythology,
that in the future, after astronomical studies, will become
the first planet… peacefully colonized by earthlings!)
in Bucharest (April 2014);
-the uplift of Mars
in Braila (May 2016);
-and finally-symbolically the Crowned Moon and Mars
in Targoviste (December 2015),
in a (much better) picture taken by special guest Valentin Grigore,
he who overtook from Admiral Vasile Urseanu, after 80 years,
the position of president of a Romanian national astronomical society.
TO VASILE URSEANU
Born under the Moon
Admiral for waters
And soldier for stars
He opted for
the god Mars
© 2016 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)