Westminster High School Solar Observing, March 20th, 2012

Harold Tutt and Bob Duff joined Dave McCarter at Westminster High School on Tuesday afternoon for some solar observing. They had a great response from a lot of students, saw some nice prominences and sun spots, and got started on their tans. Even the UPS driver came by to have a look and encouraged them to teach the students well. Several teachers and the Vice Principal came out for a look.

Partly cloudy and later clearing skies along with warm weather made for a comfortable solar observing session at Westminster High School on the first day of spring, Tuesday, March 20th.  Dave McCarter set up the RASC London Centre’s 60mm Coronado P.E.T. hydrogen-alpha solar telescope along with his Meade ETX90 Maksutov, with a glass Thousand Oaks solar filter.  Harold Tutt set up his 80mm Stellarvue refractor, fitted with a homemade Baader film solar filter, on a Vixen alt-azimuth mount.  Bob Duff assisted with the telescopes, explaining sunspots and prominences and answering questions.

Teacher and RASC London Centre member Jenny Shaw sent out 2 groups totalling 34 students from her grade-9 class to view and draw sunspots.  They also tried out their astrolabes, made with a cardboard protractor, straw (for sighting the Sun) and a string and paperclip weight to measure the Sun’s angle above the horizon.  Another teacher brought out her class of 13 students and one curious student from another class also looked through the telescopes.  An enthusiastic UPS driver also stopped by to look through the telescopes explaining how he had been pointing out the bright planets (Venus and Jupiter) in the western sky to his children.  Dave gave him a RASC London Centre brochure.
In all 47 students in 3 groups (14 + 20 + 13 = 47) plus 1 student from another class, 5 teachers, including the vice-principal and 1 UPS delivery man made for 54 people looking through solar telescopes that day.  The students and teachers were very appreciative and the solar observing session ended around 2:30 p.m.