National Science Week 2015 at Iziko Planetarium

posted: 744 days ago, on Monday, 2015 Aug 03 at 00:16
tags: astronomy, outreach, light pollution, Sun, NSW 2015, Iziko, SAAO, SKA, SAASTA, Cape Town, photo diary, StarPeople.

Exploring The Electromagnetic Spectrum

South African Science Beyond the Rainbow

Dates: Saturday Aug 01, Sunday August 02, Wednesdag Aug 05, Friday Aug 07, Saturday Aug 08

Time: 10:00 to 17:00. No need to book, activities are on-going throughout the day.

Venue: Amphitheatre outside the Planetarium at Iziko Museums, Cape Town

Cost: Free -- and all ages welcome

Bad Weather Plan: In case it rains, we will be inside the Museum.

National Science Week is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and administered by SAASTA. This year, the theme ties in with UNESCO's International Year of Light - and for astronomers this is just splendid!

One of the goals of our event is to explain highlights and certain features of the electromagnetic spectrum:

and to demonstrate how the invisible portions of the spectrum can be made visible:

A major goal is to show that South African scientists and astronomers are able to access most of the EM radiation that arrives on Earth, using various instruments. The breadth of coverage is actually very impressive!

Using accurate 1:87 scale models of SALT, KAT-7 and MeerKAT we can show-and-tell the basics of how these instruments work; we also included a graphic of the fantastic HESS installation which extends coverage into the gamma ray regime:

Showing the Sun through a solarscope is an essential draw-card: you get to see the surface of a star, a sunspot, and outer space, all in one view! The IYL theme ties in nicely, because views of the Sun at different wavelengths can then be introduced:

Saturday, August 01

Sunday, August 02

Wednesday, August 05

Despite the morning starting out cloudy, we had probably our busiest day so far. General public attendance seemed to be noticeably less than over the week-end, but several school groups amply made up for that.

Friday, August 07

(top) Early morning setup, with first guests arriving about an hour before our scheduled start. (centre) The EM spectrum/SALT setup with Alan and Rose, and (far right) a cellphone pic of the stunning sunspot complex. (bottom) Iziko is a magnificent venue for this type of outreach event with a very wide range of visitors; (far right) the end to another perfect day in the Town.

Saturday, August 08

(top) Daybreak on our last day, simply perfect. Early-bird visitors. Alan and SALT. (2nd row) James Smith, an engineer at SKA-SA, came along to help explain things to the public. Celebrity guests for today included archaeoastronomer Johan Brink, seen here on the far right talking with Lynnette. Sudden arrival of large groups makes this venue buzz! (3rd row) SALT Corner. James. One of the cutest of the many luck prize winners. (4th row) Another large group, posing for Lynnette. Celebrity presenter Kechil Kirkham came out to support our event and help with the outreach. Almost to the moment that our event ended, cloud rolled in over Table Mountain. (bottom) Panoramic view of the lawns next to our viewing spot.

Thank yous

StarPeople would like to thank:

Iziko Museums of South Africa, and Theo Ferreira & Elsabe Uys of the Planetarium, for their generous support

South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) for sponsorship of book prizes

Department of Science & Technology (DST) for sponsorship of book prizes

SKA  South Africa for outreach materials

Wouter Lochner (SAAO) and Willem Esterhuyse (SKA-South Africa) for assistance with the detailed models of SALT, KAT-7 and MeerKAT.

Brackenfell and Bellville Public Libraries for their exhibition support

Promotional Printing and Signage for their excellent and timeous service

nothing more to see. please move along.