On Saturday, 10th June, the Flamsteed Astronomy Society participated in the Greenwich Together 23 Festival held at Charlton Park. The event spanned six hours, starting at midday and ending at 6 PM, with our stand focused on the exploration of solar activity.
We had two telescopes available for public use, both set up for white light viewing of the Sun. These allowed our visitors to observe our closest star in detail, with several subspots visible. Complementing the telescopes was the "Sunspotter" device, which safely projected an image of the Sun onto paper, enabling further examination of sunspots. Notably, we observed a sunspot rotating into our field of view during the event, a sight that was both educational and intriguing for our visitors.
Keeping our younger visitors in mind, we hung an inflatable Solar System from the gazebo's roof. This provided a great talking point for our many visitors, and lots of children really impressed our volunteers with their knowledge of the planets. We also handed out “Solar System”-themed pencils to many children as a keepsake of their visit.
Over the six-hour period, our stand received around 500 visitors, each engaging with our interactive and informative activities. However, it wasn't just an educational hub. The stand also enabled connections among people from various backgrounds, all brought together by a shared interest in astronomy.
In addition to community engagement, we were also honoured to meet several Royal Borough of Greenwich councillors, including the council leader. These interactions presented opportunities for building relationships that can help us further promote our society's goals and initiatives in the community. Such encounters are invaluable in raising our society's profile and furthering our mission of disseminating astronomical knowledge.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of the day was witnessing the joy and fascination on the children's faces. Their excitement, curiosity, and sheer wonderment affirmed the worth of all the effort that went into organising the event. We're certain that we inspired a few astronomers of the future.
None of this would have been possible without the dedicated efforts of our volunteers. Our heartfelt thanks go to Adrian Challinor, Bobby Manoo, Clive Inglis, Mike Meynell, Paul Wright, Richard Summerfield, and Tony Milon. Their hard work and commitment ensured an engaging, educational, and memorable experience for our visitors.
In conclusion, our participation in the Greenwich Together 23 Festival was an unmitigated success. The day was filled with exploration, learning, connection, and inspiration. We are extremely proud to have shared our passion for solar observation with the community, and we're committed to keeping our eyes turned towards the sky. We're already looking forward to our next opportunity to inspire more people with the wonders of our universe!
Pictures by Bobby Manoo and Mike Meynell. Video by Bobby Manoo.