Last week saw Telescopes in Schools at three schools in three nights with plenty of observing to be had.
The first night was out at Northcote High School. Wednesday nights haven’t been very successful this year as the weather always seemed to turn bad by the middle of the week. But enough is enough, and rain hail or shine, we were determined to get this telescope out and finally see something. Despite our determination, the clouds persisted and didn’t quite give us the sky we were hoping for. Nevertheless, we got the telescope out, we set up the telescope, aligned the finderscope, went through the alignment process and managed to look at some stars between the clouds. While the clouds did hinder our view somewhat, it was unanimously agreed, the evening was a success, the teachers and students had a great time learning to use the telescope, there were plenty of interesting questions and discussions about science and astronomy as we were also joined by 1st year Med student and Astronomy enthusiast, Laura Breton. We were also serenaded by the beautiful sounds coming from the school concert, not too far away from where we had set up. Everyone is definitely looking forward to the next evening and thank you to Laura who took time out from her busy exam schedule to come along.
The next night was a Professional Development session with one of our new schools, Taylors Lakes Secondary College. Shane and I were joined by 5 teachers and this time with spectacularly clear skies we were able to do a sensational alignment and see a huge amount of objects. The moon, Mars, clusters, the Tarantula Nebula, Uranus and Neptune and more clusters!
Here is what Rob had to say about the night and the program;
We all very much enjoyed last night’s viewing. So thankyou to both of you for demonstrating the alignment procedure.
I would like to very much thank Melbourne University for providing this amazing instrument to this school and for the ongoing support it is providing in the presence of both of you. I understand what you are trying to achieve with the Telescopes in School’s program and would also like to say that I am fully supportive of those goals.
Thank you Rob! We had a fantastic time as well!
Lastly, we went to Gisborne to train the lovely teachers at Gisborne Secondary College. Another perfectly clear night, we set up on the edge of the oval, aligned the finderscope and we were away. Again, the list of objects we looked at was long as we explored the Gisborne night sky, which has a few more stars than those city skies. We also had five teachers come along for the training, including the Principal which is a real treat.
It is great to see all the staff keen to be involved, eager to use the telescope and full of questions. We can’t wait to get back, meet more teachers and the students. It was also fantastic that the Principals were able to take time out of their busy schedule to come to the sessions and to see what was happening and a star or two as well.