Last week saw our first night-time observing session at McGuire College in Shepparton. Both Belinda and I were very excited to be going, just imagine, no light pollution, no smog, just a lot of stars! More stars than most of us city people will ever see. The weather looked promising too, so no clouds meant a perfect night!
This first night-time session was to follow on from a very successful Transit of Venus day held at the school on the 6th where the local primary schools popped in to have a look, parents as well as the students from McGuire. What a sensational community event! So good, the Shepparton News visited and wrote a story. It made front page!
For the first session, the Year 7 SEAL group had been invited along and most of the students turned up with their whole family in tow. It was great to see so many excited people coming along.
We started with a short video “Bigger than Big” on the size of the objects in our Solar System which were then compared to the stars we see in the night sky. After this serious hit of reality we split into two groups, one to use the telescope and the other to investigate the size of our Solar System further. It was great to see everyone get involved and ask so many clever questions.
Quote of the night; “I love learning about the Solar System.” We hope you enjoy learning about all the other things in our Universe just as much!
Unfortunately, while we had been treated to the video on the stars, the clouds had completely covered our view to the North, so Mars and Saturn were obscured for the evening. Lucky for us, the Southern sky was completely clear and we got to see so many stars. We had many a demonstration on how when we look up at the sky with just our eye, we might see 2 or 3 stars, but looking through the telescope we could see so many stars, they looked like clouds! We were able to identify many constellations and I was told of stories of how these locals often go star gazing or take their own astrophotography.
We had a great night and no-one wanted to leave. We look forward to seeing everyone again and viewing more stars and some planets too!