This will be a summer to remember – our hosting of GA 2014, along with our hosting of a series of “Summer Star Parties” at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. Although there was a tiny bit of initial reluctance to undertake both of these at the same time (along with, for sure, most of our “normal” summer outreach activities), once the commitment was made, it was full speed ahead. The obvious success of both of the ventures was due to the almost unbelievable commitment and effort of their organizers.
It is the latter of these that is freshest in the mind. Last Saturday, at the last of these “Summer Star Parties,” there were nearly five-hundred visitors! Public attendance on the Saturdays when in was not raining, or when the wind was not howling, was always in the hundreds. And problems that arose were mostly connected with the traffic on West Saanich Road.
There is something deeply satisfying about the notion and practice of “public outreach,” something known to our members that head up the club’s outreach efforts, but which I have personally really begun to experience only this last year. Last Saturday, on the hill, the gibbous moon was crystal clear. We had telescopes set up on both sides of the dome. Mine was aimed at the moon. The lineups at my scope were endless: young families, seniors, twenty-somethings. Out of this hoard of people of all ages who looked at the moon through a telescope, most surely for the first time, there was not a handful who had nothing to say. The moon, coming and going unnoticed as it does, can still bring a tear to the eye.
Thanks to those of you in this club that made this happen.