Presidents Message – May 2002
Posted On May 1, 2002
ASTRONOMY DAY 2002
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!
ANZA CLEAR-UP DAY.
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."