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Hope this is the right place for this.

I am helping the local cub pack with their astronomy badge. Last week went and did the 'theory' chat and am going back next week (clouds permitting) with telescope to let them have a look through it.

Time is going to be restricted (36 cubs, 1 1/2 hours max if no problems), and I think I am going to have to limit us only two objects (allowing for me getting each object lined up and focussed for each group, that's about one minute per cub per object). Have spent this evening outside with TLAO, seeing what is visible and what might produce the 'wow' factor. Thinking of M35 through 32mm ep, stars fill the fov where there are none visible to the naked eye in Bournemouth. And also M42 through 14mmXL using LPR filter (we talked about M42 being a star-forming region).

Good choices? Or does anyone think something else might be better?

Thanks

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What about M45 - The Pleiades... They can see it naked eye, yet through any optical equipment it looks stunning, and if you can tripod mount a pair of binoculars you can double up. Don't forget to start with an optical system safety brief... Sun etc...

Don't forget, M44 - The Beehive (They may relate this to Mario Galaxy - The Beehive galaxy... my two do...:)) , And, the double cluster.

I helped out with the theory part (the cubs were the solar system and we talked it through) a few weeks back, and had a non observing session but discussion around the stars, distances, scale etc with the scouts.

Good luck...

I'm assuming you know the score of always making sure a leader is with you :(

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Thanks for your suggestions. I would agree that if I had the means of mounting my 10x50s on a tripod, M45 would be a prime target. Unfortunately, all I have is an old camera tripod and I don't want to be constantly rejigging them to keep them on target. Could just get 869/884 in the same field and also had a look at M44, but didn't think either of them had quite the 'wow' factor of M35. Another thing about using 35 & 42 is that they are fairly close together, so I can sync the scope so I get on target faster giving more time for viewing. The time restriction is really going to be the killer.

Really was wondering if anyone would come up with a suggestion that I hadn't tried.

Thanks for your thought about optical system safety. Hadn't even considered the 'don't look at the sun' thought, it being at night and there being no danger of me getting more than 4 feet from the scope if I can help it, but you are right - it's never an inopportune moment to enforce this message. And don't worry, I have made the 'you leaders are responsible for the kids, not me' message quite clear to them. Someone will be there constantly.

Thanks.

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I did a session with some Beaver scouts, I mounted my 15x70's on a camera tripod, and they all had a look at M31 (less cos it's impressive to view, and more cos it's so far away). The issue was less one of drift and more one of kids knocking the tripod legs....grr... When are you doing the session ?

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I used to help run the local scouts and there is no way I would let them near my scope. The cubs will be different though they are a bit younger and should do as they are told. How about if you told them about galaxies and what they were and how far away they are then showed them another galaxy. That would have worked when I was nine because I loved Star Wars, remember the beginning 'a long time ago in a galaxy far far away' Fair play though more people should volunteer.

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When are you doing the session ?

Well, it has to be a Tuesday evening between 6.30 & 8. With the depressingly lighter evenings and GMT giving way to BST at the end of the month, I am hoping for clear skies next Tuesday [9th].

This is my first attempt at anything like this and I am approaching it with a mixture of anticipation of the reactions I might get from what I show them and sheer panic that something disastrous will go wrong, and may even result in damage to the equipment, making me think I half want to keep them away from the telescope altogether. Maybe the answer is to hope for the next 3 Tuesdays to be horribly cloudy [it can clear again by 8pm]:headbang:

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I've done a couple of astronomy outreach sessions; once with the public and once at a primary school. I had a fantastic time on both occasions. Quite a lot of the children got really excited just by seeing the moon close up. Both times the conditions were really terrible - I wouldn't have bothered putting my scope out if I had been at home- but the reaction was great.

The only downside was to constantly stop them pulling the telescope around / off target.

Maybe take your cheaper eyepieces/diagonal in case there's a disaster. The first time a friend brought along his C11 - no dew shield - that's brave! No damage sustained.

I hope you have a really rewarding time.

Alan

Edited by oceanheadted
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Thank you all for your encouragement.

Just waiting now to see what the cloud cover is likely to be. Had several really good sessions outside over this w/e, but special occasions being the cloud magnets that they are ...

I'll let you know how it goes.

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Be interested to hear how you get on. I helped the local brownie pack a couple of years ago get their stargazer badge. Had an excellent evening with the constellations, moon, pleiades and M42. Admittedly it was only a group of 7, but they all enjoyed it, with plenty of oohs and ahhs at M42 with my 8.5" scope :headbang:

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Well that's two strikes, last Tuesday and tonight, total cloud cover that has left the cubs starless. And tonight they could have seen the ISS pass overhead from here as well. If next Tuesday fails that will more or less be it as the clocks change the following w/e and put paid to any observing before 8pm.

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Yeah, and next Tuesday it is going to be riding high, so I could use it as an additional object to observe. I was hoping for something a little more exciting though. But maybe the moon will be exciting to them if they have never seen it 'close-up'.

The problem is the time restriction. Sunset is going to be 6.23pm, so skies are not going to be 'dark' until 7 at least. And as they go home at 8 and there are 30/36 of them it is really tight.

Have been wondering if maybe a better way forward is to use the mintron and have them looking at objects on the screen. That way I could go through them a lot faster, keep them away from the scope itself [i suspect one of them is bound to either kick the tripod or grab hold of the telescope and move it], and so show them more objects in a shorter time. The trouble with that is there is something special about actually looking at an object 'live' and they wouldn't get that.

Decisions, decisions ....

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