Schleiden There are several good spots for stargazing in Bergisches Land and the Rhineland. Here we provide five recommendations for a night-time excursion.
1. Great Dhünn
The Vorsperrendamm (forebay) of the Große Dhünn dam at the Dhünn reservoir provides a great spot to observe the stars in Bergisches Land. The forebay separates the Große Dhünn dam and the Dünn reservoir. As the dam is located in a nature reserve, the 100-metre-wide protected zone is only accessible via the hiking trails. You can park at the hikers' car park, Kölner Str. 115, further up from the dam.
Vorsperredam, Große Dhünntalsperre near Kürten-Hutsherweg, 51515 Kürten
2. Friesheimer Busch
The area around the Friesheimer Busch Umweltzentrum (environmental centre) is a hotspot for stargazing in the Rhein-Erft district. The site is located in the middle of the Friesheimer Busch forest and was an ammunition depot for the Belgian army until the early 1990s. In 2002, the Rhein-Erft Nature Conservation Association founded the nature conservation and landscape management station there. The area is a protected nature reserve which means there are few artificial light sources in the vicinity, making the stars easy to spot. The local Sternenfreunde Erftstadt association also uses the site for stargazing. The grounds are locked at night, but the stars can be observed from the area around the environmental centre.
Umweltzentrum Friesheimer Busch, Freisheimer Busch 1, 50374 Erftstadt
Tomburg castle by Rheinbach-Wormersdorf, not far from Bonn, was built around 900 AD and greatly expanded throughout the course of history. It is now a ruin and is located on the Tomberg rise in a nature conservation area. Parking is available at the Tomburg car park, Tomberger Str. 901, below the castle ruins.
Tomburg, 53359 Rheinbach
4. Am Sonnenberg
You can enjoy stunning views of Cologne from the Am Sonnenberg car park in Odenthal. The light pollution from the city means that there are not as many stars as in the Eifel, but in good weather you can see Cologne cathedral.
Am Sonnenberg car park, Oberborsbacher Straße, 51519 Odenthal
5. Nippes Sternwarte (Observatory)
The observatory at the Blücherstraße Gymnasium school in Cologne-Nippes was built by pupils in the 1960s. The planetarium has remained closed for a long time due to the pandemic. Now those responsible are planning to offer guided tours and lectures again on Wednesdays and Saturdays after the summer holidays. For up-to-date information and registration, visit the website (in German only): www.koelner-planetarium.de.
Planetarium und Sternwarte, Blücherstr. 15-17, 50733 Cologne. Tel: 0221 71661429 (Saturdays only, 3-6pm). Enquiries about guided tours: email@example.com
(Original text: Jennifer Seidel, Translation: Caroline Kusch)