Graduate student Emily McCullough made her digital slide presentation, Exploring the Stars with Brownies and Guides, before some 40 visitors from the 4th Brights Brownies and Camlachie Girl Guides on Thursday, April 12th, 6:00 p.m. Later arrivals brought the total to an estimated 45 visitors, including 28 girls, 3 brothers and 14 parents and leaders.
Emily did a couple of activities, including drawing the solar system and having Brownies each represent a planet to show how orbits worked. From the conversation later in the dome it seemed that they understood how the planets worked and where the stars were.
Bringing the group into the dome Emily showed them the communications tower in south London through the 25.4cm refractor, using the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X). Venus began appearing through the clouds around 8:00 p.m. and about a dozen children and parents had a chance to view the planet through RASC London Centre member Phil Marusaik’s 127mm Maksutov telescope. Phil reported that one child described Venus as looking like a cookie with a bite out of it. Emily also swung the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome towards Venus.
Ironically, Mars remained pretty well hidden until everybody left and then Emily got a good view through the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 17mm Nagler (258X).
Emily gave one father interested in getting back into astronomy a copy of the RASC National brochure (available in the lecture room) and referred him to Phil upstairs. Upstairs in the dome she gave a RASC London Centre brochure (available in the dome) to one very interested mother with a son who has a telescope they can’t get to work and suggested she contact the Sarnia Centre through London. She gave her the names of a few books including, NightWatch. Phil referred 3 parents to the RASC Sarnia Centre for further opportunities to stargaze.
Phil reported that it was a pleasant evening, notwithstanding the cold. There were the ever popular Girl Guide cookies to be had. Emily reported that most of the group was gone by 8:30 p.m. with the last ones leaving around 9:00 p.m.