General Public & Sidewalk Astronomy

When doing public outreach the safety of the telescopes, the presenters, and the viewers is an important consideration.  This is especially true for sidewalk astronomy where one is exposed to the whole spectrum of people who are on the streets after dark.

DSCF0019_Bracken_Buite_Thea
It is always colder at the telescop than you thought it would be, always.
DSCF0009_Bracken_NR
Some take a look and walk away, others linger for a second and third look.
Sterrekyk_Strand_DSC_01182
Sometimes there are more telescopes that viewers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, give careful consideration to the neighbourhood when doing sidewalk astronomy and do it with a group of presenters rather than just one or two.

Choosing a venue where there are parking attendants also makes good sense because, over and above possible inebriated street people or late night revelers, there is also the potential risk of encountering people with less than honest intentions. The use of violence by these characters to obtain money or items of value cannot be entirely excluded either.

Public outreach elsewhere is generally much easier to manage.  One has either made arrangements beforehand or one has been invited to a venue. The only real problems are setting up the telescopes for the best viewing at the site and figuring out how to handle the numbers.

Public stargazing at Bergwater Lodge – 18 & 19 March 2013 – (Go here to read more)

National Science Week at various venues – 27 July to 04 August 2013 – (Go here to read more)

1st Durbanville Scouts at Durbanville – 23 August 2013 – (Go here to read more)