If you are a fan of Christopher Nolan’s movie “Interstellar”, or you grew up with the “Star Wars”, the opportunity to explore stars and galaxies in Molėtai Astronomical Observatory is just for you. The observatory is located 10 kilometers from the Molėtai town, and they are offering the excursions with an exploration of the newest solar technologies, the biggest scientific telescope in Northern Europe and with exciting information about our galaxy. Thus, let’s take a more in-depth look into the Lithuanian sky at Molėtai Astronomical Observatory.
While in the universe everything is calculated by the light years, here on Earth everything is easier, and to see the space you need to have just a clear and dark sky. The Astronomical Observatory was established in Vilnius (the very first observatory in Lithuania is set in 1753), near the city park Vingis. Later on, when the city took more places around the park, it was harder to see the space, so in the middle of the 19th century, the observatory was moved near the small village called Kulioniai in the Molėtai district, in the eastern part of the country. Surrounded by the forests, the observatory found its places and still is there. When the observatory was moved to Molėtai, the 25-centimeter Kasagren system telescope was built from the remaining parts of the old telescopes from Vilnius. Nowadays, the observatory has 165-centimeter telescope-reflector, the biggest not only in Lithuania but Northern Europe as well. The observatory belongs to the Vilnius University, and it attracts hundreds of visitors every year.
The only important thing about this observatory is that you have to book an education program in advance. The observatory is always busy, especially in the summertime, so proper planning is needed for this visit. The daytime excursion offers the tour of the observatory, its telescopes, an exhibition of the incredible highest quality pictures of our universe and its creations.
One more thing. Near the observatory is located the Lithuanian Museum of Ethnocosmology. It is the first such kind of museum in the world, established in 1990. Even the architecture of this building is worthseeing. It looks like an alien spaceship that just landed to Molėtai. Also, there are the excursions during the daytime and at night. However, during the night program, you can see the sky from the telescope by yourself, together with beautiful stories about our universe. But also, for it, you need to wait for the clear night sky (and book the trip in advance as well). Otherwise, you will see just the clouds. The night programs start about 1-1,5 hour after the sunset and take about 1,5 hour. During the tour, two telescopes are used (40 and 80 centimeters in diameter). If the conditions are good, five different subjects are shown: the Moon, planets, stars, and pairs of stars, clusters, nebulae, and galaxies.
Do you feel that excitement when you are thinking about all these beautiful universe creations that you can see with your own eyes? Just wait for the clear sky, book the night tour and take a look into the Lithuanian sky at Molėtai Astronomical Observatory.
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