Amateur Astronomy in Banat, Romania

Very Brief History

The amateur astronomy in Banat county in Western Romania has been a long tradition, part because of the existance of the University and the Astronomical Observatory in Timisoara (Prof. Curea, to name only one name there), part because of a few serious amateur astronomers and telescope builders (Eng. Nicu Reinholz, Mircea Pteancu, Beches Gavril, etc).

Before 1989, Eng. Mircea Pteancu and his Galaxis Astroclub organized two national meetings of the Romanian amateurs in Arad, where about 50 people gathered to present their groups and projects. Two of the top invited participants were Prof. Virgil V. Scurtu (from Iasi) and Mr. Beches Gavril (from Timisoara, one of the best telescope mirror maker of Romania).

After the Romanian Revolution (started in mid-December 1989 in Timisoara), another national meeting took place in Aug 1991 in Zadareni (a small village about 30Km from Arad). The meeting was co-organized by the Galaxis Astroclub and hosted by Eng. Nicolae Reinholz, the only amateur astronomer in Romania holding a private observatory (equipped with a equatorial 30cm telescope and other about five smaller ones).

Among the top invited participants to the meeting in Zadareni were Prof. Matei Alexescu (the Director and founder of the Planetarium of Bacau, and one of the most famous Romanian astronomers and author of many books, conferences, etc), Dr. Gheorge Vass and Alexandru Dumitrescu (representing the Astronomical Institute in Bucharest).

One of the main focus of the meeting in Zadareni was to enlarge the co-operation between amateurs and professional astronomers. Following those discussions, in April 1992, a major meeting hold at the Astronomical Institute in Bucharest decided to set up the The Romanian Astronomical Foundation, an association that unfortunatelly existed only about half year.


About 10 years later, other young amateurs joined the more experienced ones to scrutinize together the wonders of the sky, using older or newer telescopes. One of them is Octavian Stanescu, member of Altair Astroclub (founded some time ago by Doru Dragan in Timisoara). Well, Tavi recently had a great accomplishment, by building the largest telescope made and own by a Romanian amateur, namely a Newtonian F/D = 180/38cm! The following picture presents Tavi near his 38cm telescope.

But the amateurs in Banat don't observe the sky using only telescopes. Recently (Nov 2001) a group of amateurs members of SARM's Timisoara Branch together with other amateurs from Altair astroclub observed the Leonids. The following picture presents the participants to the great Leonids show: Liviu Stoian, Leu Florin, Doru Dragan, Cristian Cristescu, Juravle Andrei and Monenciu Elena.

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