National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Sunflowers, Bees, and Antennas


Sunflowers, Bees, and Antennas

This is a scene of Nobeyama in summer. This picture of sunflowers and bees, taken with the 10-m antennas of the Nobeyama Millimeter Array in the background, could inspire a fubutsushi (a poem glorifying the seasons) about the Nobeyama summer. At an altitude of 1350 meters, the daily high temperatures in Nobeyama rarely exceed 30 degrees Celsius in the summer. The sunflowers featured in this picture don’t seem too hot do they?

The Flower Gardens in Nobeyama Campus

Starting from several years ago, Nobeyama has received local junior-high school students for workplace experience visits. One of the assignments has been for the students to put forth their own impressions and suggestions after an unsupervised self-guided tour. They have given us many valuable opinions about the Nobeyama self-guided tour facilities. One year, the students were struck by the fact that, “there aren’t any flowers in this facility.” It was true that while there were many varieties of wildflowers, there were no flowerbeds planted by people. So the next year we set up flower gardens. In addition to the sunflowers seen in this picture, other kinds of flowers like salvia and marigolds have also been planted. The sunflowers reached their peak just in time for the 2014 Annual Open House Day. Thanks to them, the Annual Open House Day was also publicized in the Shinano Mainichi Shinbun (newspaper) at that time.

Text by: Kenzo Kinugasa (Nobeyama Radio Observatory)
Translation by: Ramsey Lundock (NAOJ)