Kvarner newsletter / no 13

Look into the stars
Lošinj celebrates the International Year of Astronomy

This year Mali Lošinj will be celebrating the International Year of Astronomy, declared by UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union, in collaboration with the Leo Brenner Astronomical Society. There are many reasons for this celebration, which is also an opportunity to once again look into the wondrous starry sky over this beautiful archipelago.

Apart from the International Year of Astronomy, additional reason for celebration is the 11th anniversary of the opening of the former Manora observatory and the 15th anniversary of the foundation of the Leo Brenner Astronomical Society. To be more precise, on the 5th of May 1894 Spiridon Gopčević opened his first observatory in Mali Lošinj and started his astronomical career under the pseudonym of Leo Brenner. In the period from 1894 to 1909, he made more than 4000 observations and sketches, published several works in most renowned astronomical magazines of the period, and also issued his own specialised journal entitled Astronomical Overview. It is interesting to mention that this was one of the first popular scientific journals in the field of astronomy, which was read worldwide from Europe to America. The name of Leo Brenner can also be found on Moon surface: on of the craters was named after him, just like three further craters were named after Croatian scientists – Nikola Tesla, Andrija Mohorovičić and Ruđer Bošković.

Mali Lošinj will celebrate the International Year of Astronomy with a series of events. In April there will be public observations according to the International Astronomical Union programme – 100 hours of astronomy for the residents and visitors of Mali Lošinj. More than 30 countries worldwide will mark the first human space travel on the 12th of April – Mali Lošinj will celebrate "The Night of Yuri Gagarin" with projections and concerts in the centre of the town. "The Island in Space" is the title of the event dedicated to the fact that in 2005 one asteroid was given the name of Mali Lošinj thanks to the Višnjan Observatory in Istria.  This Year of Astronomy is also an additional impulse to continue the "Night under the Stars" series of events that was started in 2008. The events take place in Mali Lošinj, Veli Lošinj, Nerezine and some other places on the island. Besides all that, there is one more, probably most romantic reason to take part in the International Year of Astronomy – simply look into the wonderful starry sky of Lošinj!!!