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Observatory Postcard from the Field: Kepler Field from the dark sky park - Windows to the Universe

    Image courtesy of Joanna Molenda-Zakowicz

From: Joanna Molenda-Zakowicz
Izera Mountains, Poland, May 6, 2010

Kepler Field from the dark sky park

Hi, from the dark sky park in the Izera Mountains of Poland!

Do you know how many stars there are in the sky? How dark the darkness can be? Where in the sky the Kepler space telescope is looking? You can find answers to these and many other questions when visiting the dark sky park in the Izera Mountains of Poland. You can go there as a tourist or attend one of many educational events, for example the School Workshops on Astronomy.

Under the dark sky of the Izera Dark-Sky Park you can see thousands of stars, measure the darkness which surrounds you, listen to lectures on astronomy, and spend nights observing various astronomical objects. If you come here in the spring or summer, you will find the Kepler field right above your head for almost the full night. What an opportunity to study it's contents! No, you will not see the planets discovered by Kepler -- they are too faint, and their transits are too tiny. This is why the Kepler telescope was sent to space, since only from there can the transits of the smallest extrasolar planets be detected. Do you know that one day Kepler may find a planet like our own -- the Earth?

At present, dark sky parks and preserves exist in Canada and the USA. The dark sky park in the Izera Mountains is the first preserve of this kind established in Europe. The role of dark sky parks is to preserve areas of sky free from light pollution, perform educational events and hold astronomical workshops and meetings aimed at observations. Read more about it on the Izera Dark-Sky Park website.

Postcards from the Observatory

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