Astro-roundtrip in 3 days

May 4. - 6., 2018

It was a dream we wanted to fulfill for some time and that time came on May 4, 2018 at 8 am. That is the morning, when four of us, Csörgei Tibi, his wife Erika, their daughter Viki and I, started our 3 day long astronomical trip in southern Slovakia and Hungary.

First stop was at 10 am in the Amateur Astronomy Centre in Hurbanovo (Ógyalla), where Mgr. Marián Vidovenec, the director of the facility, greeted and led us around the historical observatory and its grounds. We surveyed the statue of Nicolaus Copernicus in the park, the pictures and paintings of scientists and Konkoly Thege Miklós, the Hungarian founder of the world famous facility and some of the telescopes in the domes. We ended the visit with an amazingly beautiful 3D-like astronomical projection by Kovács Kitti.

Next to the Konkoly Thege Observatory

In the dome with Mr. Vidovenec

The 150/2250 mm Coudé refractor

The trip continued through Stúrovo (Párkány) into Esztergom in Hungary and to Budapest where we drove by the Polaris astronomical observatory in Óbuda.

Our next stop was in southern Hungary, in Baja, where we visited the observatory of university of Szeged and the meteorological station. This became our accommodation for the night. We met with Csányi István and Bánhidi Dominik, the night shifters, and later with the director of the observatory, Dr Hegedűs Tibor or as we all call him, Hege.

The 400/1800 mm Newton in Hurbanovo

A short break at Polaris in Budapest

Next to the Baja Observatory

The night was rainy and even stormy, but the morning was sunny and Hege drove us out to the sand dunes in the Illancs region. The story behind this beautiful natural preserve goes back to Pliocene era and to river sedimentation processes, which created these sand dunes. The winds created high hills, the largest being the Ólomhegy (Led mountain) at 172 m high and the lowest being the Kunfehértó (Cuman white lake) at 99 m deep. Attempts to stop the advancing sand started in 1700s and became successful in the middle of 1800s by hard work of Wendl Károly forester and Haynald Lajos botanic. The conditions in these regions were always hostile, people who moved here had hard times to produce fruits or keep stock animals healthy. Many of them simply escaped from here, thus the name Illancs, which is derived from elillantak (escaped). We were lucky to meet an older herder and his friendly dog. The whole nature preserve is simply beautiful and full of native animals and vegetation.

Awesome sight from Kopasz hill

After a nice lunch with Ruzsics Kriszta we spent some time talking at Hege’s house, then went boating on river Danube, while our wives went biking in the town of Baja. A beautiful day completed with a great bowling party and dinner.

On the Danube

In the forest of roots

Flock of sheep on Illancs

Next day we continued to Bóly, where we were greeted by our friend Käsz Laci and his family. We visited Bödők Zsigmond‘s observatory just outside of town in Békáspuszta, which is the sister observatory to our own one in Csallóköz. Both observatories are unique in their locations and areas, one in southern Slovakia, one in southern Hungary.

Observatory in Bóly

The 150/1200 achromat refractor

Next to the observatory with Laci Käsz

We returned home via city of Győr cherishing our 3 day trip and longtime friendship with people we visited.