European astronomers in search of “dark regions” on the planet to make observation of the universe easier, away from the light pollution caused by large urban centers with strong artificial lighting, have discovered the Pindos Mountains, Epirus province, and Mt Orliakas in Grevena Prefecture, northwestern Greece.
One of the darkest spots in Europe lies at an altitude of 1,400-1,600 meters on Mt Orliakas and by 2012 will be the site of an observatory to be built in the region following recommendations by NASA astrophysicist Thanasis Economou who comes from the area.
A second such observatory will be built on Mt Holomontas, Halkidiki in northern Greece, at an altitude of 1,060 meters.
A region on planet Mars has been named after Orliakas by Economou, who is also one of the designers of parts of the spacecrafts that have reached the Red Planet and several astronomy instruments built for the United States and the former Soviet Union.
The 2.5-3 million-euro observatory featuring a state-of-the-art telescope will be open both to scientists, students and amateur astronomers.
The world renowned astrophysicist will address an audience in Grevena on August 8, followed by stargazing events in several local villages where visitors will have the opportunity to marvel the starlit skies with the help of powerful telescopes.
Source: Athens News Agency