Raoul Lannoy


Public astronomy event (for the children with XP desease)

First night of the shooting stars at Fernelmont, Belgium. On friday 8th august , the firs Night of the Shooting Stars (Nuit des étoiles filantes or NEF), took place at Fernelmont , 15 km north-east of Namur. Weeks earlier, the French speaking Belgian amateur astronomers federation was contacted by a woman in charge of a group of children affected by the Xeroderma Pigmentosum desease (extreme sensitivity to UV light) with their parents. I called her the next morning, found out the group had its base (momentarily) at Namur and very quickly, Astronamur (the club nearest that town) contacted her. It turned out the 8th would be the best moment to meet the children. My club, Astrovega and the CAO joined with Astronamur for the organization of the event, at the Sport Center of Fernelmont. We wondered what we were allowed to do our not. For instance, anti-UV transparent plastic filters were glued to the neon lamps, but flashes were allowed. We feared the weather might not cooperate and indeed, we had to rely on plan B ! When 3 clubs join, it can produce wonders (we knew it since 2009 with the Galilean Nights we organized at the same place). We would expose our telescopes, organize a contest with various prices, show a miniature solar system in paper (except for the Sun , a lamp), have a radio-astronomy stand with an antenna outside (thanks to Thierry) and we would have four conferences… After going through traffic jams around Brussels , heavy rains on the highway , I arrived at the Sport center and the big Dobson would be exposed with other telescopes in the room. First came the public for the NEF, then later 2 busses (with special windows) arrived with the children, their parents and organizers. Apparently, they’re doing each summer a big gathering between french, belgian and swiss children (next year, they go to Switzerland-language commonality ) and we saw them on TV two days earlier when they visited the Han caves. They might wake up at 10:00 AM but stay inside until the Sun is no more dangerous. We share an interest for the night and we shared what we know about the heavens, directly to the children and the adults. It was fun, very friendly, interesting, lots of exchanges. Julien Lemaire from Astronamur got in touch with Therese Jeunejean who founded the association “Ensemble pour Lola” (together for Lola). Julien also coordinated the event, had a paper model of Rosetta which two days earlier, went to orbit around comet Chury… Linda made the conference about the solar system and what we see in space and Thierry about the meteorites. We didn’t have time for the next two conferences. It was quite tiring (talking all the time) but very rewarding ! They left after 1:00 AM and we packed again being careful not to take anyone else’s telescope device…. We were unable to show the heavens (and the Moon) but that would be for next time…



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    About Me

    Born in Belgium in 1957 (from a Belgian father and an American mother). Here, everything seems a lot more complicated: more taxes, more government, more languages, more people per square kilometer or mile, more light pollution, but, nevertheless, as much passion for things going on up there, naturally or man made. This was thanks to the first time I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey back in 1968, followed by the promises of the Moon. One weakness was my dislike for maths, which led to human science studies (law and a specialization in insurance). I've been working since 1982 in the...


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