The annual ScopeX astronomy and telescope exhibition, hosted by the Johannesburg Centre of the ASSA, was held this past week-end. And as I've come to expect, it was a wonderful success.
I was invited by the organisers to run a MoonScope building session (based on the cost-effect refractor kit developed by Case Rijsdijk/SAAO) for 250-odd learners who attended the day's events.
Last year, I was ably assisted by two Voortrekkers, Lorraine Laubscher & Marno Grobler, and to my delight, they were on duty again this year.
Three groups of learners – all smartly dressed in school uniforms and extremely well-behaved – were accomodated; the first two groups were 90-strong, with some 70-odd making up the last session. I presented the first session, which included a balloon-based demonstration of the relative sizes of the Earth & Moon, and (by volume) the Earth's atmosphere and oceans.
After the first session, the Voortrekkers asked if it would be OK if they presented the next round! With minimal supervision they did a great job – dankie Lorraine en Marno vir jul onmisbare bystand!
After the last group left, Lorraine and Marno helped a few late-comers (pictured below) make their own MoonScopes.
In the afternoon I was on duty at a display of SAASTA-funded posters where I had an opportunity to interact with the general public in (for me) typical outreach fashion – folk drift past and strike up a conversation, with one question leading to another.
Almost everyone I spoke to was not a Joburg Centre member (although I hope they are now considering joining!) but their enthusiasm for astronomy was tremendous. You know, it's just great to hear: 'Wow, you've now totally blown my mind!'"
I'd like to thank Martin Lyons for his sterling assistance in helping set up the displays, Lorraine & Marno for their presentations, and of course Lerika, Chris, Francois & the gang for arranging yet another excellent ScopeX.
P.S. To Atze, George, Chris, Johan and all the other locals: one day I'll be less rushed and we can sit down and have a lekker skinner.
nothing more to see. please move along.