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Local Elementary School Science Clu

outreach refractor
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#1 jhbanister

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 03:38 PM

For the past few years I’ve given a presentation and observing session to about 10 4th and 5th graders and their parents at the local elementary school.  I had been using an 10” Newt on an equatorial mount until now but that mount is DOA, so my only choice is an Orion ST-120 refractor (F/5) on a go-to Alt-Az mount.  Observing targets are the Moon and Saturn, both of which will be about 30 degrees altitude.  I could use a few pointers:

 

1.  Previously the kids stood on a step ladder with the Newt.  Since that is out, would it be better to use my observing chair or have them stand?

2. What height should the eyepiece be at, and should I try and have the eyepiece point straight up or turn the diagonal to the side?

 

Thanks.

 



#2 Prasad

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 06:54 PM

John 

 

I started doing the same for my grand daughter's ES for about four years now. I take whichever scope  I may find convenient for the planned observation. I always hold these outreach events on the Friday following the new moon. The reason picking Friday following new moon is because we always get crescent moon to observe. I always send a Bcc. email to the group announcing the event with brief detail on the planned observation targets (always moon plus planets as available for the night, etc.). This way I ask parents to prepare their kids on what to expect. 

 

Initially I was using my 8 inch Dob but I realized that kids disturb the pointing. After that I started using my GP mount with C8. I do rough polar pointing, basically pointing the mount roughly to North and set the latitude on the Lat scale. It has worked. I use my TeleVue 8-24 zoom EP. It allows use of zoom level to suit the object - i.e., low for moon and highest magnification for planets like Jupiter or Saturn. 

 

Never had any issues. I have had a minimum crowd size of about 40 and maximum of close to 175. I always kept a second scope - my iOptron Smart Cube with 80f5 handy and it is quickly deployed if the crowd size is large. Long queue is not a good thing for outreach. Kids can lose interest quickly

 

The EP is placed at a place roughly like 40 to 45 inches from ground. I take a small step ladder (a ladder with three steps) along. It can be placed such that kids can use one of the steps to stand on. I always remove the finder scope because kids try to peek through it or grab it for support. 



#3 aeajr

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 10:03 PM

Diagonal to the side probably works best.

 

I have found these three step kitchen ladders work great with kids.

https://www.amazon.c...,aps,134&sr=8-7


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#4 jhbanister

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 06:02 PM

Thanks to all.

 

 




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