Piketberg astronomy outreach (2008 October 10)
The first leg of our 2008 SAASTA Astronomy Month began in Piketberg. A steep learning curve and a few minor glitches (such as yours truly not putting on sunblock) didn't hamper a wonderful & hectic day and night event.
By 10:00 in the morning we were set up on a busy street corner, and by the time we finally packed up at 16:30 (to rush off to the evening venue), we had interacted with at least 400 people. The clear skies and bright Sun took its toll and I was beet-red in places – lesson learnt.
We relied on Martin Domburg and his charming wife Lucille, of Piketberg Tourism, to suggest a good spot for our day-time setup, and their choice was spot-on. They kindly arranged for the use of tables and chairs, and helpful municipal workers dropped them off and collected them again late afternoon.
The evening venue was all but perfect: a hall with tables and chairs, with a sufficiently dark area outside for eyepiece-time.
The hall was used for an introductory talk and for planisphere-making. Outside, we had three telescopes set up, and conservatively estimated had 150 guests who stayed until 22:30 to enjoy the Moon, Jupiter, double stars and deep sky objects. From experience, the ideal ratio of people to telescopes is somewhere around 10; even though we had upward of 50 people per telescope, things went well.
Shortly after 23:00 we were at our guest house. Exhausted but hyped. Tomorrow: Moorreesburg.
We hadn't even completed setting up when our first customers arrived. [click to start slide show]
nothing more to see. please move along.