Meet the Stardome team - DanutYou may have spotted some of Danut’s images on our Facebook or Instagram. He loves taking pictures of the Sun and frequently helps out at our open days.

How long have you worked/volunteered at Stardome?

I have been a Stardome volunteer since October 2006, doing the same here as I did in my native country Romania for the ‘Amiral Vasile Urseanu’ Observatory in Bucharest.

What is the best part about being here?

I enjoy sharing my astronomical knowledge with the public visitors and showing them that astronomy doesn’t only mean “math and physics” but it also means simply enjoying starry nights with the naked eyes, binoculars or a telescope! I love promoting astronomy and astronomers from around the world and encourage people to become Stardome volunteers and Auckland Astronomical Society members. I encourage people to take their own night sky images also! Using the Zeiss telescope and the Lunt 152 Solar Scope I enjoy taking astrophotography images here and sharing these on various Facebook pages such as Aotearoa Astrophotography, NZ Astronomers and RASNZ Education Group. I also enjoy being a member of the Zeiss Research Team, where we are beginning projects regarding variable stars, comets, exo-planets and more!

Tell us about your favourite astronomical object

I think that my favourite is the Great Orion Nebula! But also Omega Centauri, 47 Tucane and the Jewel Box (three of the most famous southern sky clusters), Tarantula Nebula and Andromeda Galaxy. Overall, I like all the celestial objects. By looking to the sky, we are looking back in time!

Who is your favourite science fiction character and why?

Susan Calvin from ‘I Robot’ by Issac Asimov. I also have to mention my favourite science fiction book, which is ‘The Incredible Adventure’ but Ioa Manzatu. It was from this book that I first learnt about stars and galaxies.