Introduction to 3 New Schools

At the end of last term, I had the pleasure of enlisting 3 more schools to the Telescopes in Schools program. We also delivered and installed the telescope and have started with the Professional Development.

The first delivery was to Gisborne Secondary College, Gisborne. We are really looking forward to seeing some very clear skies and little to no light pollution out that way. I can tell you now that the City schools are just a little jealous… Here is a picture of Shane with Mr Barry, our goto teacher at Gisborne SC, with the telescope set up and ready to go.

Gisborne delivery

Mr Barry, telescope and Shane at Gisborne SC

The next delivery was to Taylors Lakes Secondary College, where I was met by Lab Tech, Mr Susnica and Science Teacher, Mr Davie. While setting up the telescope in the Prep room, we had quite a number of on lookers as we unpacked and put the telescope together. Some fantastic questions were also fired at me from some students. Oh the pressure! Telescope construction AND Astronomy grilling at the same time. Looking forward to more of the same come observing time. ; )

The next week, Shane went to the school to give the staff some Professional Development on using the telescope. 9 teachers attended as well as one very keen student. Not such a great night weatherwise, only one star poked its head out of the clouds, but there was plenty of discussion on the use of the telescope, how to align, etc. They are now very keen to put all their new knowledge into practice. Here is a photo of the crowd at Taylors Lakes.

Taylors Lakes Delivery

Taylors Lakes Staff learning how to use the telescope.

Lastly, during the last week of the school holidays, I packed up the car with a telescope and my bags and headed to my home town of Geelong. I headed out to the lovely Bellarine Peninsula and ended up in Ocean Grove to drop off our 9th! telescope to the good folk at Bellarine Secondary College. We spent a good hour unpacking and installing the telescope, discussing the function of each piece of equipment. We then headed outside on the beautifully constructed trolleys to align the finderscope with the main telescope. Mr Thomas and Ms Hall did a sensational job – best alignment yet!

Alignment at Bellarine

Working on the Finderscope Alignment

We then grabbed a quick dinner and sat by the beach to eat it, because when you are in Ocean Grove – you can! I hear a great view can aid the digestion… or maybe it was just the fresh sea air.

It was then back to the school to get the telescope out for it’s first run with the French teacher (who says Astronomy isn’t universal in every way?) and Astronomy enthusiast joining us for the evening. After struggling with the clouds in the North (because that was where we needed the stars for alignment) we finally managed to align the telescope – perfectly! Maybe it was that sea air again or these guys are really quick learners, but the telescope went exactly where it was supposed to go, every time! We had an amazing amount of things to look at as well including Mars, Uranus and Neptune, star clusters, nebulae, binary star systems. They finally let me go home at 9:30 PM! We had a great night and the skies were sensational.

TiS is really looking forward to getting back out to these new schools, seeing more of the skies, meeting the students and demonstrating to anyone who will listen and look, just how cool Astronomy is!

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