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Need tips for solar outreach events


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So I need little bit help to make my solar outreach events better.

Usually most of my solarsolevents events have been for schools and little bit for general public  But now I am going more towards college students and arranging events specific for solar observation. (It used to be more like complimentary with night sky observations)

Since I am not a science student (learning physics by myself only), I don't have exact idea about what topics should I cover in theory. (Also what should I learn as well)

Usually I take a projected image of the sun using my 90mm refractor and do H-alpha observation using my Lunt 50mm telescope. As for theory, I cover little bit about nuclear fusion, sun as a magnet, little bit about solar spectrum. If time allows then I refer Sun's images like magnetogram and all to have a better idea.

Any suggestions would be helpful! Because it looks like I am still the only one here taking H-alpha observationsobservation.

P.s. I will be putting up this question in solarchat as well. But more help will be better!


EDIT : currently I am thinking about adding a small radio telescope. Also, looking out for something to make so that I can see the solar spectrum much better.

Edited by Rhushikesh-Canisminor
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There is not a lot to add to that which you appear to be doing well. We do outreach solar observing here at the Astronomy Centre, we make an effort to try and make sure the visitors appreciate the huge scale of the activity that they are seeing and also that the Sun is just another star amongst all the others seen in the night sky, just that the Sun is the only one close enough to see such detail.  Keep up the good work.   :icon_biggrin: 

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On 16/12/2017 at 19:09, ollypenrice said:

Do you discuss hydrostatic equilibrium? This would allow you to move on to the deaths of stars and the three scenarios, planeary nebula-white dwarf/Neutron Star/Black Hole.


The topic does come up little bit here and there, but not in details. I do explain more of basic though (Since mostly the crowd is from non physics background)

It occurs that my main issue is that I don't know exactly what topics should I cover during the session (even though I happen to know the concepts). I need to make my session good enough that at least someone from the students should think about taking Solar Physics as a career.

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  • 1 month later...

According to your audience keep it as simple as possible. IMO.

Every TV interview with an enthusiast [in any subject] crashes as soon as the hobbyist starts spouting "fancy" terms and data. IMHO.

It just looks and sounds as if they are showing off or being a total boor. IMO.

They can't help themselves. They are obsessives and sound like it except to each other. IMO.

By all means respond to direct questions [if you can] but use short, measured answers.

Most of it will go over their heads anyway so why pretend to be a Bohr if you're not?

You can't keep the rest of the group on board while you're rattling on and on.

Have answers rehearsed for interesting measures of scale [as Peter says] and the names of the most visible objects and phenomena.

Budding solar/nuclear physicists can and will/should do their own homework.  They are already interested, or not.

I'd concentrate on showing moving solar views to groups rather than individuals queuing for a very brief glimpse through an unfamiliar eyepiece.

But do have a PST handy for live views to hammer home the reality show if you have one.

Do remember that they won't have an 'educated' eye to see all you can see completely effortlessly from long practice.

Try looking through an eyepiece with your "wrong" eye. It is usually blurred and blindingly bright. Or is it just me?

Binocular views are probably the best chance of them actually seeing something useful to their visual senses.

What about powerful binoculars with well secured solar objective film on a simple, driven mounting?

An 80-90mm, white light filtered refractor with sun screen?

I know TV screens are a bit of a secondhand experience but they can provide continuous and vital group interest.

Particularly if the connection to something 'live' is obvious. THIS screen is the showing the view through THIS telescope live.

Do try to have video or live feeds. If they just wanted a few pretty stills of the Sun they'd just go online.

NO reason not to print out some usefully labelled professional stills on boards for educational purposes.

Most people are very used to accessing information via monitors these days.

Just make sure outdoor screens are well shaded against the Sun. Or why bother?

Sun? What Sun? What do you do if the Sun isn't shining? Show a slide show?

I suppose this ridiculously long answer makes me a complete and utter Bohr boor?

Do what I said. Not as I just did! KISS!   :wink2:

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