Radio-astronomical site of Humain
The radio-astronomical site located in Humain, near Rochefort, belongs to the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB). It is a small protected area (only a few square kilometers) in terms of electromagnetic radiation. The site was used since the 50s for radio astronomical observations, mainly solar observations. From 1957 to 1972, ROB built a solar radio interferometer with 48 parabolic antennas oriented along the North-South and East-West axes. It was operational until 2001. Most of the antennas are still there, although in a poor state but still nice for pictures if you don't get too close.
Since 2008, using a new funding from the Solar-Terrestrial Center of Excellence, new radio experiments were installed. During this short excursion, you will have the possibility to see SPADE (a new solar radio interferometer), several refurbished antennas equipped with different types of instruments monitoring the solar radio spectrum, the BRAMS radio interferometer for VHF observations of meteors, and a VLF antenna made of two magnetic loops belonging to AWDA-Net, a worldwide network of antennas dedicated to the study of whistlers and the plasmasphere.
There are also a number of optical observations carried out there, taking advantage of one of the darkest skies in Belgium : two RMS cameras from the GMN and CAMS-BeNeLux networks, one camera from the AllSky7 network, and one camera from the European Fireball Network.
The visit will last 1h. The BRAMS and VLF antennas are located in the grass, so depending on the weather conditions, it might be useful to use walking shoes. The grass will be cut just before our visit. The other solar antennas are accessible via a road with concrete.
The radio-astronomical site of Humain is at approximately 30 km from the ESC.
Caves of Han
The Caves of Han refers to a natural complex of caves in Belgium. A major Belgian tourist attraction (around 250-300,000 visitors per year), the caves are located in Wallonia, on the outskirts of the village of Han-sur-Lesse.
The caves are formed as the result of an underground erosion of a limestone hill by the river Lesse. For most of its length a meandering river, it abruptly plunges into a sinkhole not far from Han-sur-Lesse. This hole is known as the “gouffre de Belvaux” (the Belvaux abyss), where it forces its way under the hill over a distance of over 1 kilometer (0.5 mi) as the crow flies before streaming through the cave complex known as the “Grottes de Han”.
Accompanied by your guide, dive into a fascinating underground world and discover its stunning geological treasures. Explore the Cave of Han's most beautiful rooms and galleries and be amazed by the stunning sound and light show Origin!
As soon as you set foot in the Cave, your surroundings work their magic… Explore secret galleries and immense cave chambers, decorated with a wide array of draperies (or curtains), stalactites and stalagmites. The river Lesse plays hide-and-seek in the Cave, crossing your path every now and then… In the gigantic Weapons Room (nearly 110 meters underground), you can discover the sheer magic of the new sound and light show: Origin. Let yourself be carried away on a journey through the millennia, back to the origins of our world…
The temperature in the Cave is on average around 9-10°C with also a lot of humidity, so although it is summer, do not forget to bring warm clothes for the excursion. There are 365 steps so no strollers or pushchairs or wheelchairs. There are no toilets in the Cave.
The Caves of Han are 12-13 km from the Humain radio-astronomical site.