You may recall last years Astronomy
Day activities were pretty much clouded out. Not
so this year!
Through the instigation of member
Paul Wendee I heard about the OC Youth Fair which
was to be held at the OC Fairgrounds this year across
Astronomy Day weekend. This event is one that attracts
upwards of 15,000 school-children, teachers and
parents to experience the many exhibits and to take
part in many of the competitions.
The day started with us turning
up at the fairgrounds at 7:30am and setting up our
scopes on a parking lot right next to some "bouncy
dinosaur" exhibit and adjacent to a long line
of food stalls being run by many scouting and other
volunteer organizations. It seemed like an ideal
place to be positioned!
one of the quieter times during the day
the biggest problem was the wind as everything had
to be taped down!
We had a total of 6 telescopes
pointed at the sun from 8am until around 5:00pm.
With a conservative estimate of 100 people per hour
we certainly spread the word among Orange County
residents in quite a big way. I added a little twist
later on in the day by, after a lot of luck, by
managing to find Jupiter in broad daylight. It certainly
surprised and amused the afternoon visitors to see
a planet in the day-time.
one of the many bright children who stopped by
to look through the telescopes at the sun
Many of those who looked through
our scopes were interested in learning more about
the club and I fully expect to see quite a few new
members join as a direct result of this event. We
also managed to spread the word to many teachers
who came along about our Outreach program. I suspect
that Jim Benet and the rest of the Outreach volunteers
will find that we have even more schools looking
for our help.
I know there is very much a great
personal reward in taking part in these outreaches
- however it still takes an extraordinary effort
and special person who can choose to spend the whole
day doing this. Special thanks to Leroy and Jeanne
Bainbridge, Joe Busch III, Paul Brewer, Matt Ota,
Bill Hepner, and Barabra Toy. Great work!
We are planning a grand Anza clear-up
day at the June Star Party. We have quite a bit
of "spare" equipment and discarded items
lying around the site and it is time to do some
"spring cleaning". Please come along early
on May 11th to help with the clear-out!
Members who have been with the
club for more than a year should know of the annual
Star-B-Ques that we run out at Anza. This is where
we have a pot-luck/BBQ for all members to enjoy
a nice social gathering prior to a great evening
viewing in the comfortable environment of our site
at Anza. We are planning on a little different Star-B-Que
this year in both July and August. We are inviting
the Riverside Astronomical Society (RAS) members
to join us at Anza for the July event. The RAS is
currently at the early stages of building out their
own dark-sky site and we would like to extend whatever
help we can with their task. One way to do this
of course is to allow them to experience for themselves
our Anza site. This will be a reciprocal arrangement
where our members will also get an invitation to
experience the new RAS site sometime. We are also
looking to invite another society to the August
Star-B-Que. I will give further news on this when
the arrangements have been finalized.
"every day we are connecting ever more photons
of light from distant galaxies to the eyes, hearts,
minds and imaginations of our members and others
in our community."