Student Night at Gisborne

Just before the end of Term 1 we had our first student night at Gisborne Secondary College. The Year 7 and 8’s were invited along and were joined by parents and siblings. Unfortunately the skies were not cooperating that night and a thick cloud cover mean’t we didn’t see anything in the night sky.

So what to do on a cloudy night when you are there to look at stars and use the telescope? Set the telescope up inside and start teaching these students how to use the telescope. So we put the telescope together, we set it up for alignment, found some stars to align with and went through the alignment process, moving the telescope and focussing. All the students then had a go at finding a different object, a planet, the moon, a binary star, a nebula, a star cluster or two. Unfortunately that night everything looked like a close up view of the ceiling…which it was 😦 But we had a great time pretending we were looking at the sky! There were a couple of Year 6 siblings very keen to come to Gisborne Secondary College next year and join the Astronomy club.

Learning to use the telescope for next year!

Learning to use the telescope for next year!

One such person, after looking through the telescope said, “I really want one of these!” We discussed putting a telescope on the next Birthday wish list.

We also had pockets of students looking at Stellarium and talking to Jenny who is doing her PhD in Astrophysics about her work. We all had such a great evening and are looking forward to next term when hopefully there will be lots more opportunities to see some stars.

Using Stellarium to figure out what we should have been seeing.

Using Stellarium to figure out what we should have been seeing.

As luck would have it, just as we left the school, the clouds started to break up and the moon peaked through. By the time I got home, the sky was almost clear… better luck this week.

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