Moorreesburg astronomy outreach (2008 October 11)

posted: 3346 days ago, on Monday, 2008 Oct 13 at 20:19
tags: astronomy, outreach, Astronomy Month 2008, SAASTA, Carol Botha, Ed Foster.

We slept over in Piketberg on Friday and headed off to Moorreesburg on Saturday morning. The hot weather persisted, and we struggled to find a shady spot next to the Spar to set up.

Rose of Moorreesburg Tourism very thoughfully arranged for an umbrella to be set up at our spot, which was somewhat off to one side, partially I think because of the layout of the town. There was no room for the poster pillars, so we made do with the available walls, and even used the trailer as an exhibit space (see photos below).

For some reason, we reached less adults and more younger folk this time. While setting up, a group of young learners gathered around eagerly (first two photos, below).

We were in place from 10:45 to 14:20, and only managed to make contact with 120 people; the remaining flyers were distributed mainly on car windows, although an uncounted number of passers-by were given brochures and flyers.

The evening venue, the Moorreesburg Museum, was ideal. A sizeable grassy courtyard, shielded from most of the town's lights, was both safe and pleasant. Indoors, a large conference room, with ample tables and chairs, allowed us to place many of the posters on the tables, as well as have ample room for an activity table.

At least 90 people attended, but here, too, the percentage of children was higher than in Piketberg. Over 40 10-15 year-olds came for the evening star party. Some arrived quite early so by 17:00 there was already a bustle. To my utter amazement, the youngsters were incredibly well behaved and it was a delight to share with them their first view through a telescope. If you've never done an astronomy outreach event at night, in the dark, with 40 kids, you probably won't know what I'm talking about :-)

While it was still light outside, and before Ed's talk, Carol organized a "human solar system" activity. Kids were selected based on some vague passing semblance to the planets, and given a placard with the planet's name on. Anchored by the Sun, each "planet" had to pace out its scaled solar distance. By the time you get to Saturn 20 paces things start getting fun, with the crowd counting out the number of paces in step. Luvuyo got to be Neptune (at 60 paces) way off the grass and in the rough!

Special thanks are due to Annelize and Rose, of Moorreesburg Tourism, for their cardinal role in realizing this event. Marlene of the Moorreesburg Museum was also instrumental at the venue for making things run smoothly. And the free hotdogs wow!

Carol collected some self-expressions in Piketberg and Moorreesburg:

"Ek wil my kind leer van die sterre en hoe dit 'n mens se o kan beskadig as jy direk na die son kyk" Beverlinn van Goedverwacht

"Vat 'n stukkent gloeilamp. Gooi water in, kyk deur bulb na maan en jy sien 'n mannetjie stap" Iwazi Vili

"Die sterre gee vir ons lug en dit skyn baie mooi veral in die aande.Die son is ook 'n ster. Ek hou nou baie van sterre kyk" -Mariza Diedericks

"Ek hou van in die nag na die maan en die sterre kyk want die sterre flikker in die nag" Rendil Ontong

"Ek hou van sterre want dit is mooi en hulle vorm iets" Grant Dudley Meyer

"Ek hou baie om sterre te kyk, want in die dag is daar een ster en dit is die son en in die aand kan ek baie sterre kyk en dit is baie mooi, maar dit is ook baie gevaarlik om direk in die son te kyk" Alida Beukes

Slide show

 Every time there were new guests Carol would patiently demonstrate the importance of eye safety.  [click to start slide show]

nothing more to see. please move along.