Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

voidhawk

Now I know how Brian Cox feels...

Recommended Posts

I live in the centre of the city, so when I take the telescope out, it’s invariably to public parks, which means you’re never short of dog-walkers, doggers, drunks and chavs. Most of the time they ignore the strange eccentric standing in a field with a tube pointing at the sky but the first time I took my scope out two lads came over to ask what my partner and I was doing. They were in their late teens, hadn’t even been to a science class in years and were possibly two of the most ignorant people I’d ever met.

It was the night that the aurorae were visible in some southern regions of the UK and they asked whether we were there to see ‘the lights.’ We told them ‘yeah’ and, figuring that we knew something about them, started asking us what they were. Now I don’t know whether you’ve ever been in a situation where you realised that you’d massively overestimated the knowledge of the person you were talking to, but as I started to explain about the Earth’s magnetic field drawing the Sun’s charged particles through our atmosphere it quickly became apparent that I may as well have been speaking Swahili. We kept dumbing down the explanation until the point where to explain that the sun was a big ball of burning gas, we made burning sound effects.

Still, they were captivated by the sight of the moon through the telescope and asked some of the sorts of questions  that kids might ask about the universe. One of them commented  that he wished he hadn’t failed science and I told him that it doesn’t matter what education you’ve had, if you’re interested in finding out about the universe, the answers and wonders are out there for you to discover.

I don’t know whether they did anything with the experience, but I like to think that we helped to inspire just a little bit of curiosity and awe in two lads who had no interest in science before. I went home feeling just a little proud.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done. It is many eons since my schooling. However I had a shock about 20 years ago helping my daughter with her A level . It was about the standard of the old O level.

I had a very strict grammar school education with the requirement to be fluent in German, calculus and cross country running in winter.

I dread to think what is going on nowadays with regards to dumbing down. Somewhere someone can provide a spark, well done for having the time and patience,

Nick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, my partner is a teacher and I'm frequently astounded by the level at which her students of 9-10 year-olds. They were two kids who had no interest in school and had simply lost interest in science, whether that was their fault, the teacher's fault or the system's fault I can't say

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Void, you have a way with writing. Keep it up.

That and I'll see your two fools and raise you my wife, an attorney, whom I recently informed that our sun is a star just like all those other stars in the sky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, my partner is a teacher and I'm frequently astounded by the level at which her students of 9-10 year-olds. They were two kids who had no interest in school and had simply lost interest in science, whether that was their fault, the teacher's fault or the system's fault I can't say

Uh parents? hello?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did a presentation for 8 to 10 years old school children and their parents at a local library yesterday. The kids were very enthusiastic and knew far more about astronomy than their parents.    :smiley:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Uh parents? hello?

Sadly, it's not always down to the parents. In a world where kids are taught that no-one can make them do anything, our hands are somewhat more tied than my parents were :(.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be honest I had no interest in astronomy until saw Brian Cox on the telly, I use to go night fishing and look up to the stars and wonder what they were called, I knew the Plough and the North Star, but that’s about it.


After watching Stargazing live I was hooked, more so when he said you could start form as little as £300........he lied, OK you could but I think you would loose interest quickly with limited equipment, the best thing I liked first was Stellarium that was amazing and still use it a lot.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 10 year old daughter and some friends were coming back from the cinema in a taxi a couple of months ago. The sun was setting and to make conversation the driver asked the girls which direction the sun set. He was somewhat taken aback when they not only informed him that the sun set in the west, but then started to discuss what the effect would be if the earth rotated in the other direction.

Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Void, you have a way with writing. Keep it up.

That and I'll see your two fools and raise you my wife, an attorney, whom I recently informed that our sun is a star just like all those other stars in the sky.

Thanks. :)

I see your wife's ignorance and raise you the two fools who wondered whether you could touch the stars if you stood on the Moon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was showing my mrs one night that one outstretched finger will cover the moon ( as people believe it to look bigger, it's a neat trick )

So she popped outside with me and tried it. Indeed the finger tip covered the moon and she said oh yeah your right.

I then said " it's still a large object in the sky though considering its distance from earth"

" it's not that far is it ? Man has been there"

How far away do you think it is love , I asked

" ABOUT 50 MILES" She said !

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a public astronomer myself and always enjoy it when someone shows an interest. I am a great believer in the John Dobson quote

"if you own a telescope it's your duty to share it with those who don't"

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, Rowan,I think you win this one!

And I like the telescope quote a lot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had an event during the Star Gazing Live week at Sunderland Astronomical Society (SAS).  We were asked to take our kit as they expected a large number of people at the event. There were a lot of us set up our kit and even so everyone had queues of people waiting to look through the scopes and ask questions.  I'll never forget the wonder and awe they showed when they looked  through my modest scope and saw the craters on the Moon. People of all ages and backgrounds were there. It was marvellous what that TV show did to promote the hobby and interest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i love doing public observing stuff - earlier this week we had some of the gcse astronomy lads from our societies affiliated school come down to do some observing with us.

It'll never get old watching the faces of people when they see a galaxy and spot a super nova (still there!!!) and you tell them the photons of light and energy were created by an exploding star and its taken 14million years for those lightwaves to get here, bounce off a bit of glass and hit the back of their eye.

i know light doesnt really have mass - i'll let brian cox argue that one - but it still astounds me that something created at unimaginable temperatures and pressures has travelled across all that space and physically whacked me in the eyeball...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was showing my mrs one night that one outstretched finger will cover the moon ( as people believe it to look bigger, it's a neat trick )

So she popped outside with me and tried it. Indeed the finger tip covered the moon and she said oh yeah your right.

I then said " it's still a large object in the sky though considering its distance from earth"

" it's not that far is it ? Man has been there"

How far away do you think it is love , I asked

" ABOUT 50 MILES" She said !

I get this a lot too when showing people the Moon through a scope. They always ask "can you see the landing sites?" or "can you see the lunar rovers that were left behind?". No! No, no and no. I start by explaining that the Moon is 1/4 the size of the Earth, does that help them to visualise how big it is? Cue blank looks. Ok, so then I explain that perhaps the entire continent of Africa might fit onto the view that we're looking at. Cue more blank looks. Finally I show them a crater, perhaps Copernicus and explain that it is roughly 60 miles in diameter. Does this help with the scale? Cue more blank looks - then "but why can't you see the rovers?" Aaarrrrggghhhh!!

Trust me, there are a LOT of people out there who believe that the Moon is about 20 miles in diameter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brilliant OP for teaching others! Hopefully they will then teach others and so on and so on!  

I enjoy teaching my nephew about space and planets and rockets etc. He is only 4 but starting to take a real interest in it, so I bought him a book about a boy called Adam (same name as him) who goes to all the planets looking for Aliens. I read it with him a few months ago when I last saw him and he asked what the sun was, when  I explained he said " I bet you would get really sweaty there"! I had a picture of him last night, sat in his bed wearing the Superhero cape I got him for his birthday reading his planet book - very proud Aunty moment!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i was outside looking at the moon with my scope in the front garden and three guys and a girl asked what are you doing .So I said want a look they were very impressed looking at the moon at what they saw . One of the guys said I have to get me one of these (a telescope) they thanked me and went on their way. I was pleased to show them what the moon looked like trough my telescope .  John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.