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  • Writer's pictureMike Meynell

Public Solar Observing: High Temperatures and Big Crowds

Our most recent Public Solar Observation event at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, on Friday 7th July 2023, was nothing short of a spectacle. Approximately 500 inquisitive attendees graced us with their presence, all under the able supervision of our diligent team: Clive, Helena, John, Les, Mike, and Roger. A special mention to this wonderful crew for making the event a resounding success.

The day kicked off with the setup of the H-Alpha Solar scope just before 11 am. In no time, we had a rush of people that kept pouring in until we finally had to roll down the shutters just before 4 pm. It was like Black Friday, but for astronomy buffs.

Big queue for the Solar scope as soon as we opened

As for the weather, Mother Nature decided to play nice. We enjoyed clear skies for most of the day, apart from a couple of pesky clouds that tried to crash the party. Ideal conditions for a day of staring at the Sun - something we don’t usually recommend unless you’ve got a Solar scope handy.

Speaking of which, our H-Alpha Solar scope was the superstar of the show, providing an up-close and personal tour of the Sun’s surface. There was a standout sunspot that hogged the limelight. Oh, and let’s not forget the large prominences.

But wait, there’s more! We also rolled out the Sunspotter scope, projecting a white light view of the Sun. Perfect for those who wanted to see the sunspots without squinting.

Sunspots easily visible on the Sunspotter scope

While we had fewer school groups than expected, the tourist turnout was off the charts. Even the scorching 29 degrees in the shade couldn’t stop the flood. And the newly available gazebo was a godsend, providing much-needed shade for those waiting their turn at the scopes.

In conclusion, if there’s one thing we learned, it’s that a day of solar observation can rival any blockbuster movie for entertainment. We came, we saw, we observed, and we can’t wait to do it all again. Bring on the next event!

Pictures from the Event (by Mike Meynell):

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