100 Hours - part three
By Friday morning I was glad of the coffee machine at work. Normally I drink tea, but I was starting to yawn before I even arrived on Friday. Over the last two star parties I'd done so much talking that I felt like my voice was starting to go. Still, there was another one set for Friday and I wasn't going to miss it!
At half four a crowd of us piled in cars and headed over to the physics building on campus. We filled up the cars with as many telescopes as we could find and headed off to City Beach for star party number three. There were six of us from Curtin with our three telescopes: the 5-inch Meade (which I have taken a strong dislike to recently), the 12-inch Meade, and the 8-inch Dob which we actually gave to the GUC in Geraldton last year but had borrowed to take to Mullewa last week and not returned yet. We eventually found the right place (Scitech's big red outreach van is hard to miss!) and unloaded everything.
On the deck at the back of the building, overlooking the ocean, there were lots and lots of telecopes of various descriptions. In total there were 16 scopes belonging to various groups including Scitech, Curtin, AGWA and BTOW. It looked very impressive.
Scopes at sunset, City Beach, 3rd April 2009 CREDIT: Megan
At 7pm, earlier than expected, the public began arriving and we were off. Our telescopes were running, but the 5-inch was displaying it's normal stubborness and refused to align itself properly. It's asking for some percussive maintenance... Aidan, Claire, Bruce and the guys from the Curtin astronomy club were great. They showed people all sorts of fun stuff and seemed to be having a good time. I went for a look at some of the other telescopes that were around and got talking to one of the guys from AGWA who had another 16-inch Dob - he'd just ordered a collimator but it hadn't arrived yet, so I borrowed Scitech's collimator and showed him how to use it.
There were quite a few Scouts around, including several from my Troop, which was great. One of the Scouts from another Troop even brought me his book to sign so he could earn his astronomer badge! The estimates for how many people were there in total ranged between 450 and 500 which is really quite impressive. The area wasn't very big, so it did get quite crowded. I spent a lot of the evening wandering through the crowd with a stack of AstronomyWA planispheres handing them out and showing people how to use them. I think I got through more than 100 in the space of about an hour!
Busy scopes at City Beach, 3rd April 2009 CREDIT: Megan
Another great evening of public outreach, I'll be sad when this week is over! Still, we've got National Science Week in August, I'm putting together an astronomy camp for October, and then there's AstroFest in November which should be huge.