International Observe the Moon Night 2012 (2012 Sep 22)
Each year, the International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) is celebrated world-wide, an opportunity for astronomy outreach with a lunar theme.
In 2012, InOMN was held on September 22, and several groups were active in South Africa. The two events registered on the InOMN website were hosted by ELF Astronomy in Kuilsriver, Cape Town, and by the Soutpansberg Astronomy Club in Louis Trichardt, Limpopo.
The first InOMN was held in 2010; reports can be found by browsing the 'InOMN' tag.
Soutpansberg Astronomy Club, Louis Trichardt
The third International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) was held on Saturday 22nd September. This event is a fantastic opportunity for some pavement astronomy and public outreach.
InOMN 2012 in Limpopo Province started well before the Moon was visible. By 11:00, Sarah, James, Christopher and I were setup at the entertainment entrance to the Mall of the North in Polokwane. The public at this busy mall were treated to views of the Sun through the telescope as well as information on our closest star. Posters, brochures, "Sibo Likes Life" books, as well as the various careers that are available in space, science and technology (SET) were available as hand-out material. These were courtesy of the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) and the Soutpansberg Astronomy Club (SAC).
Shortly after sunset, on this day of the equinox, the telescope was pointed to the star of the show, which was directly overhead, the first quarter Moon. Views of the Moon were projected on a big screen as various lunar features were pointed out. Some of these were the easily visible darker regions or "Seas", Sea of Crises, Sea of Fruitfulness, Sea of Tranquillity and Sea of Serenity. A few of the prominent craters that could be seen were Aristoteles, Eudoxus, Cyrillus, Theophillus and Posidonius. Four Apollo landing sites were visible but everyone wanted to see were Apollo 11 had touched down. Neil Armstrong was remembered as the first man to walk on the Moon and short clips, as well as various experiments that were performed on the surface of the Moon, were shown during the course of the evening. Mars, where Curiosity is doing its thing, also featured prominently as did a popular clip of how the Moon was formed. Around 200 visitors signed the register, but more often then not these were family or friend groups of three plus, translating into a rough estimate of 500 people. Apart from an hour or so when cloud obscured the Sun, weather was not a problem and the event was well attended. Numerous science teachers and schools were earmarked for some future astronomy related outreach. After a long and tiring day, with both kids asleep in the back seat of the bakkie, we arrived home in Makhado (Louis Trichardt) around 23:30.
A warm thank you to the Mall of the North (Polokwane) for hosting and advertising the event and their contribution of photocopies used as hand-out material. Once again, gratitude to the local media (written & radio) who contributed to promoting InOMN, and continue to promote astronomy outreach in the region. And last, but not least, once again, to my family, for their help and patience during these events!
ELF Astronomy, Zevenwacht Mall, Kuilsriver, Cape Town
nothing more to see. please move along.