K-Tec

Stargazing at C.A.M.P. in Wexford (9/9/13)

  • Seanie_Morris
  • Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Administrator
  • Administrator
More
10 years 10 months ago - 10 years 9 months ago #98712 by Seanie_Morris
Stargazing at C.A.M.P. in Wexford (9/9/13) was created by Seanie_Morris
It's not too often in our hobby that you get to bring Astronomy to a group of people that would otherwise be oblivious to its existence. That was what I was recently challenged with when I was invited to present an outreach event to Cheshire Adventure Motivation Project, or CAMP. John Brophy, a member of the Irish Aircorps and one of CAMP's chief co-ordinators in Ireland, rang me out of the blue 2 weeks ago, asking if I could do it. To this day, I don't know where he got my number. CAMP were having a 5 day adventure in Carne on the southeastern-most tip of Wexford, on Monday last (9th). I drove down with all my gear for the night, including what I needed to stay in the hostel with them.

I did my usual thing in the lounge room that evening in preparation: set up telescopes and binoculars, laptop and projector, various bits and bobs for display and demonstration, handouts at the ready. I thought it was going to be a another same ol', same ol', which I enjoy doing anyway. Usually when members of our local astronomy club (MAC) do outreach, we leave structure and routine at the door, as nothing ever follows your expectations, and the simplest, most interesting question from the audience will take you on a tangent half way round the galaxy!

Well, I was really surprised by what I was faced with. I knew initially that the audience was a mix of physically disabled 'participants', be it from brain injury or physical accident, and their carers, all lead by a team of volunteers. Around 75 people altogether from around Ireland were in Carne, for a relaxed affair. It was so relaxed that the volunteers brought beers and soft drinks for everyone! Yippee!

After the introductions, I just went straight in, being led from one question after another, after another, and another. Many of these people, participant and carer alike had never thought about Astronomy. This is because most of them would never venture out without the other in-tow away from home at night, apart from specially-organised events, and those are almost always indoors. This night was part of CAMP's aim to offer the disabled person a more independent and richly involving hobby that could actually be easy for them to pursue. These activity weeks in general take in outdoor pursuits, team building, shopping, and more, all on their own, and even a dinner dance for a really fun, sociable aspect to their stay.

After almost 1.45 hours of leading the group and being led in return by so many interesting questions, at 11:15pm it was found that the skies had cleared, so outside we all went and set up the equipment.

It has been a long time since I saw such clear skies from the coast, and I am hooked. Sagittarius sitting on the horizon, the Milky Way spreading up and out from it all the way across. It was a first for many people there, and they caught the bug too! We had a couple of telescopes on the grass offering participant and carer alike views of the Pleaides, Perseus Double Cluster, the Coathanger, the Andromeda Galaxy and many more. We were treated to a high number of meteors*, including a splendid orange Aquilid fireball heading down for Sagittarius.

Over an hour was spent outdoors before retiring by half past midnight, past the bedtime of some! But the next morning, all they could talk about at breakfast was what they saw, heard, and learned. I drove the 2.5 hours back to Tullamore with immense satisfaction, and look forward to meeting them again by invitation in 2014.

Now THAT was an Astronomy outreach event!


Seanie.

*I found out later that this meteor outburst was an unexpected interaction with an unknown debris stream, and we all had the best seats on the grass to see it!


Some Photos...


The crowd move in.


In the middle of Astronomy! Still don't know how that photographer got behind me without noticing.


With John Brophy (centre-left)


Many of the carers really enjoyed it too.

B)

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.
Last edit: 10 years 9 months ago by Seanie_Morris.
The following user(s) said Thank You: michael_murphy, lunartic_old, johnomahony, Fermidox, martinus, PaulWalsh, manic_dave

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • DeirdreKelleghan
  • Offline
  • IFAS Social Media Officer
  • IFAS Social Media Officer
More
10 years 10 months ago #98736 by DeirdreKelleghan
Replied by DeirdreKelleghan on topic Re: Stargazing at C.A.M.P. in Wexford (9/9/13)
Excellent outreach I am sure many others would have supported the activity if we had known about it.
Perhaps next year ?

Deirdre Kelleghan
Vice Chair IFAS

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • Seanie_Morris
  • Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Administrator
  • Administrator
More
10 years 9 months ago #98783 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Re: Stargazing at C.A.M.P. in Wexford (9/9/13)
Thanks Deirdre, it was a very hurried affair. The only other contact they knew of was Astronomy Ireland, which they had a very sour experience with a few years back. I happened to be free, they had a spare bunk in the hostel, and it worked out.

Well done, by the way, on your recent exposure on TV3 with St. Cronan's Stargazers, you guys looked great! Onwards and upwards. :)

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.104 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum