I had the pleasure of spending a Saturday evening with Sherry Buttnor, demonstrating the 16 inch reflector up at the Centre of the Universe. It is humbling being in the dome with her, as Sherry has been operating and demonstrating the 16 inch since 1987! For most of the time, we had the telescope trained on the moon. Once the moon got too low, we moved to M13 – the Hercules cluster. Everybody who looked in the eyepiece exclaimed some version of “Wow!” Sherry often told the people, “You’ll never look at the moon the same way from now on.”
Brock Johnston that night had one of the 8″ Dobsonians set up behind the Plaskett Telescope, with a steady stream of people coming for a glimpse of Saturn. A woman who had never before seen Saturn through a telescope said she was in tears afterwards, she was so awestruck.
Astronomy outreach is fun! The people who come to star parties and other
outreach events are keen to learn, and they appreciate our efforts to help them see the sky. Sometimes it feels like a lot of work, but once you are at it, it is a real high.
So make the decision to help out at our outreach events!
- We need people for Saturday nights at the Centre of the Universe (contact Garry Sedun, firstname.lastname@example.org); especially if you are willing to set up your telescope.
- We need volunteers for the Vancouver Island Star Party, an hour north of Victoria at Bright Angel Park, August 26-27 (contact Dave Payne, email@example.com). Also, plan to go to the star party – Dave has been working with the Cowichan Valley Starfinders Astronomy Club to create an excellent program of speakers and events.
- We need volunteers for the Saanich Fair at the Saanich Fairgrounds, September 3-5 (contact Lauri Roche, firstname.lastname@example.org).
- We need volunteers for the Fall Fairfield, Sept. 25, right outside our Astro Cafe venue at the Sir James Douglas School yard (contact Reg Dunkley, email@example.com).
At these events, you can typically take a shift of a couple of hours and answer questions from the eager public. I have seen members with the whole range of background and experience taking on these roles, and everybody has done well. Just show a bit of the enthusiasm that I know all RASC Victoria Centre members have.
Randy Enkin, President@Victoria.RASC.ca