Amateur “Star Hunters” | The Daily

Amateur "Star Hunters" |  The Daily

“When I was a kid, I went to Boy Scouts and went on field trips and I saw this amazing evening sky with thousands of stars,” recalls Panagiotis Kasassidis.

Yesterday Agios Kirikos Ikaria O Makis Faudoulis He looked up at the sky. During his 76 years on this planet, he spent most of his time observing the celestial bodies thanks to his father’s love of astronomy, but the August full moon never ceased to fascinate him. For many amateur astronomers, however, and for Mr. Foudoulis, yesterday’s skywatch took the form of a final farewell to their teacher Dionysis Simopoulos, who has always been their closest “amateur” star.

“He had them in his pocket”

In the late 1950s, in Ikaria, his father took him on a summer vacation to Karavostamos. “I remember the northern sky, the stars above Chios, my father – a physicist – explaining the constellations to me, and the sight fascinated me”, recalls Mr Faudoulis. “Then at school there was a cosmography course that excited me. The same with the book “Cosmos” by Dimitrios Zalouches, a publishing miracle”. Although he eventually studied veterinary medicine, astronomy remained his secret passion. “To be honest, talking to girls about stars was a powerful card,” he says with a laugh. Wherever life took him, he kept his eyes on the sky. “I was looking for Alpha Centauri when I was in Buenos Aires. When I lived in England I always watched the BBC’s astronomy TV program The Night Sky with Sir Patrick Moore. I watched him, as did the Americans Carl Edward Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Of course, Simopoulos had them all in his pocket,” he comments. “It was extraordinary. My children and I are live shareholders in the Eugenide Planetarium and Observatory, and we have been many times. The way he popularized science, his presentations and speeches were very impressive. I especially remember him talking about the dark sky paradox. Why are there so many stars so dark? His presence in our lives was intense and constant. Through the way he spoke, he made many people love astronomy and learn what we are, a stardust.

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Amateur star hunters-1
Wherever life took him, his eyes were on the sky, Makis Faudoulis confesses.

First contact

“To be honest, it was a powerful card to talk to girls about stars.”

O. from Ioannina Konstantinos Zakas, an amateur astronomer and founder of the Portable Digital Planetarium (Planetarium on the Go) with his brother Christos, touched the stars by many children across Greece, he too bids farewell with love and gratitude to Dionysis Simopoulos. “I owe him my first contact with astronomy when I was fascinated by the show “Red Giants-White Dwarfs” as a primary school student”, Says to “K”.. “Later, when I lived in Athens and bought my first telescope, I remember watching literally every projection available in the planetarium. I remember his kind and kind words, presentations and speeches that captivated the audience. As director of the planetarium, Mr. Dionysis Simopoulos The Hellenic Amateur Astronomical Union is a helper for amateur astronomers by providing us with space for events and conferences. He will always be a source of inspiration for his contributions to the spread of astronomy and his general attitude towards life”.

Amateur Star Hunters-2
Constantinos Tsakas says he was fascinated by the show “Red Giants-White Dwarfs” when he was in primary school.

Boy Scouts

Even those who did not know him personally felt that they had much in common. for Panagiotis Kasassidis, how an amateur astronomer got his start in the starry sky. “Dionysis Simopoulos and I had something in common, scouting! As a city boy I didn’t see the night sky, but I was lucky enough to go to the Boy Scouts, and on field trips I saw this amazing night sky with thousands of stars. As a scout in 1960, a telescope from Amphiclea Simopoulos has described many times in his own unique way that night when he saw the starry sky, he was mesmerized and began to follow his dream. In the end, he carried out the vision of Scouting Lord Baden Powell’s founder and left the world a little better than he found it! Wish him a good journey among the stars…”

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Amateur Star Hunters-3
With YouTube, you can transmit science directly, because you don’t have to bring the world, but you enter their homes, Pavlos Kastanas points out.

Teacher with student

The Pavlos Kastanas As Simopoulos said, it belongs only to astronomy amateurs in the true sense of the word art lover. Physicist, with a master’s degree in astrophysics, since 2017 he maintains Astronio, the most successful astronomy channel on Greek YouTube with 250,000 subscribers. It was thanks to this work that he met Simopoulos for the first time in September ’19. “I knew him from childhood and adored him, but we first met at an event at the planetarium for the Science Channels.” Mr. Katsanas says to “K”.. “Two months later we did an hour and a half interview for Astronio and it was a huge success. No results, nothing, talk about the past, present and future of man in space. Later the two became closer and they started talking regularly. Simopoulos followed his young colleague’s work and mentored him. “He was excited about YouTube and how effective it was in communicating science. You don’t have to bring the world, you go into their homes.” When Kastanas presented his first book in Patras on December 21, Simopoulos was overwhelmed by the treatments. “I told him he didn’t have to come, and he replied, ‘I’ll get up.’ The student-teacher relationship had turned into love. The man always wanted to give. His generosity to new colleagues, how he opened the door for others to follow, was a rare virtue. Difficult Ideas as a Teacher He had the ability to describe vividly, but I will forever carry with me the friendship and humanity I felt from him.

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