Outreach in Burford, Ontario

By Ed Mizzi

For the past few weeks, Bob Prociuk, Bill Leggitt and Ed Mizzi have been planning a visit to the Burford Library. One of the B rant County Librarian’s, Gary Jermy, contacted Gary Bennett, our President, to ask if we could do an astronomy presentation that included some astronomy knowledge and some information on viewing the night sky and the equipment necessary. Gary Jermy is actually considering a telescope loaner program for their libraries.

So, we drove to Burford (just West of Brantford) on the evening of Wednesday, October 19 and spent two hours speaking with a group of 30 very keen individuals, from teenagers to seniors.

We took with us an assortment of books, binoculars, telescopes and accessories for the scopes. After a short description of our club and what we are about, we shared several slides and had a discussion about the relative sizes of planets and Earth’s place in the Universe. The group was very engaged and asked sevdsc_0419eral intriguing questions, some that we easily answered and others that we just didn’t have the depth for or that we knew were unanswerable at this time in human history.

We discussed visual astronomy and just how much can be seen with the naked eye, without spending a dime. Then we described how binoculars work and which sizes and types to have for night viewing. We talked about different types and sizes of telescopes and what wedsc_0420 recommend for beginners and those with a casual interest in astronomy. We mentioned photography and how, even with a smart phone or point and shoot camera, it is possible to get images of the Moon and other objects and events.

We displayed and described two planetarium programs/apps, Stellarium and Sky Safari and how they can be used to learn about and observe the heavens.

Several participants stayed afterward to ask more questions so we felt that it was a success and a very worthwhile venture. Gary Jermy was very appreciative and thankful for our visit and told us it was one of the best attended talks and one of the most interesting.  He commented on how the audience members were so engaged for the full two hours, ending at 9 p.m.

Of course, Gary said he would be contacting us to possibly speak to other groups and offer further assistance when they decide to implement their loaner program.

And that’img_9174s where you, a club member, come in…we need help, especially because the few people who are doing Outreach at the present time are spread very thin and can only do so much. So we encourage you to volunteer and we guarantee that you will find it very rewarding and lots of fun too!

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