After the difficult one month of preparations and weather concerns the Star Peace event between Macedonia and Serbia finally came true on the weekend between 22nd and 24th May. The event was held on the peak “Odvrakjenica” on the mountain Golija, near the city Novi Pazar in Serbia.On this event there were participants from 5 astronomy clubs from Macedonia and Serbia: Skopje Astronomical Society from Skopje - Macedonia, AD Novi Pazar from Novi Pazar - Serbia, Astronomy club Aristarh from Kraguevac - Serbia, Astronomy club Univerzum from Backa Palanka - Serbia and Astronomical Society Ruger Boshkovic from Belgrade – Serbia. In total there were 11 participants on the event from all the clubs, and we had one special guest from Brazil, that also participate in the event.
The weather on both of the observation nights was good and we had good conditions for observations and for astrophotography. There were 7 telescope setups, from which 4 were used for making astrophotography, and 3 for observations, and two binoculars that were available to us.
As the goal of the Star Peace we tried to join our forces in everything that we did during the event. Participants were learning from each other different techniques about astrophotography, making together photos of different objects on the sky, and participating together during the hunting for the Messier and NGC objects in the sky.
During both observation nights there were more that 30 students that visited the event from the city of Novi Pazar that were really interested to have the chance for the first time to see the sky through a telescope. They were amazed to see Saturn and its rings, the colliding between the Whirlpool galaxy (M51) and NGC 5195. During their visit except of this objects they had a chance to see more than 15 different and beautiful objects on the sky. Also we gave a little task for them to try to count all the visible satellites of Saturn that were visible at the moment. Most of them were interested to learn the constellations, so during both nights we did a short presentation of the constellation in the sky. The ones that were most interested and could stand the cold during the night had the chance to learn more about cosmology and the creation of the Universe. Everyone of the participants were giving their best to explain every question and uncertainty that the students had. You can see their excitement from all they had the chance to see and hear during both days, at the end they thanked us 100 times and tell to us to come another time and to show them again the beauty of the sky.
The weekend was fulfilled with a lot of companionship that connect the members of different astronomy clubs together, under one sky, so they can make new friends, tell about different astronomical experiences, giving advices about astronomical observations and equipment and trying to give their best to give their knowledge to all the children that came and visit the Star Peace event on Golija.
We can proudly say that the event went perfectly. Maybe the remote location of the observation spot and the high mountain peak didn’t allow for more people to come, but the point and the goal of Star Peace was fulfilled joining together people from Macedonia, Serbia and even Brazil. The International Year of Astronomy is still ahead of us and there is a lot of time to give our best to tell that astronomy is not just for the members of the amateur astronomy clubs and for people that are professionals, but also for every citizen of this beautiful planet of ours. The sky is one and the same for all of us, and there are no borders on it, the borders are just in our minds, and how much we can understand that out there, there are a lot of beautiful things that can connect us no matter of our nationality, religion or race.
The report was also published on the official page of The International Year of Astronomy. You can find the link here.
And the report on the official Star Peace project you can read it here.