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Popular science and public outreach
From about 1991 onwards, I have spent some of my time to public outreach and popularisation of astronomy. Firstly, it is fun to do, but it also turns out that many people are quite interested in astronomy and intrigued by the beauty of the night sky. Popularisation is therefore a quite rewarding pastime. I (used to, when I lived in Europe) give (nightly observation) tours and several courses at the old Sonnenborgh Observatory in Utrecht, for students, adults and children. I have given many popular lectures at the Observatory, on primary and secondary schools, several local radio stations, and on special meetings and occasions. The topics of these lectures and courses range from the Sun, the solar spectrum, terrestrial planets, the giant planets, comets and asteroids, to stellar evolution, nucleosynthesis, supernovae, galaxies and cosmology.
Apart from lectures and courses, I use the internet to popularise astronomy to a broad, general public. A good way to do this is to show how and when astronomical events can be observed with simple means (the naked eye, a pair of binoculars or a small telescope). The core of my website The night sky for the Netherlands and Belgium is therefore the monthly astrocalendar, which does exactly that and provides brief descriptions sky charts and animations, and links to sky maps and tables for more details. Most of this is in Dutch, because there are many astronomical websites in English already. However, I created two entries for most of the links below: one to the original Dutch page, and one to an English translation (in many cases made on the fly by Google).
Practically all of this work is aimed at a very general audience, assuming no physics or astronomy background whatsoever. The number of (unique) visitors of my website varies around 750 a day and increases slowly. The busiest day so far was during the total lunar eclipse of June 15, 2011, when 54,590 unique visitors were recorded.
Much of my work can be found somewhere on my website:
Some of my work can be found on other Dutch websites:
Museum Sterrenwacht Sonnenborgh (the public observatory) in Utrecht
Steljevraag.nl: Wetenschappers beantwoorden uw vragen (Scientists answer questions from the public)