Just finished up.. 🙂 The Museum of Natural Sciences in down town Raleigh, NC hosted Astronomy Days this weekend. Since I had recently joined the Raleigh Astronomy Club, I decided it’d be a great way to help out by volunteering to display my telescope and be on hand to let people view through the scope at some far off pictures of planets. I got to setup in the new wing of the museum called the Nature Research Center.
In the two day event, I ended up going with two different setups – with the 2nd days setup turning out the best:
- Day 1: I had just my scope with it pointed to Jupiter and Saturn (both cut-outs from a magazine). This seemed to work well, but there were a few kids that were very grabby and would pull the scope out of alignment only to complain seconds later “I don’t see it”.. A quick re-alignment and instructions not to use their hands usually corrected the issue. I also ended up showing the picture of the Orion Nebula which I’d taken along with some shots that Mike Foster had taken to demonstrate the capabilities of the scope and camera gear. These picture however were being shown on my phone, so it was a pain to keep breaking out my phone and search online / flickr app to show the photos.
- Day 2:I setup my computer with a webcam in place of the eyepiece. This allowed for many more people in the
audience to view and participate simultaneously. Another change was that I brought my HP Touchpad on which I stored images of Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and the Earth’s Moon which I had previously been showing on my phone. Jack (another RAC member) also brought a few signs saying ‘Come See Saturn’ or the Moon or, etc… Placing this on the table beside my scope certainly seemed to bring more people instead of me asking them to come in to see.
All in all, both days were quite busy. Saturday seemed to have more people interested in purchasing gear… more buying style questions… ‘How much’, ‘Which one should I get’, ‘Where to buy’, etc.. Sunday was more of astonishment in the quality of the images obtainable rather than those asking buying style questions. Either way, I think both days were a huge success.
Not only did many people learn more about Astronomy, but I got to learn some tricks from the guys I was setup with. Much fun was had by all.