Cosmic Kidz and Stargazing Live

On Sunday 2nd April 2017 Wycombe Astronomical Society held its second Cosmic Kidz astromomy and science show for families. This year we were able to tie this in with the BBC's Stargazing Live programmes, being broadcast from Australia.

The event started at 2.15pm at a new venue - Amersham School in Amersham. Guests streamed in steadily from the start and this continued throughout the afternoon. It is difficult to estimate numbers but there must have been 130 or so and all were treated to a fun afternoon. Firstly, the sun was shining! This meant that the children and adults could enjoy some solar viewing. Several members had set up their telescopes and solar scopes which allowed for safe viewing of solar prominences and sun spots.

Inside there was a variety of displays and exhibits. We had 5 planetarium shows throughout the afternoon and each one was full. This was run for us by Mark at The Black Hole planetarium and all children and adults came out saying that they had learnt something. There was space food for the children to try - freezedried ice cream and freezedried strawberries. The mint chocolate ice cream was particularly nice! Paul Hill from the European Space Agency put on an excellent show - with explosions and "count downs" and the opportunity to wear a genuine spacesuit. WAS member, 13 year old Rio, gave two excellent talks which were well received and we had an indoor telescope display too.

The children had the opportunity to enter a competition by answering questions related to the show....what is the area in space called in which you have to wear a space suit in order to survive? (The Armstrong Line), Identify the object down the microscope (head louse), How is space food preserved?  (freeze dried) etc. The winning entry won a digital microscope. There was also the prize raffle in which a "GoTo" scope was the first prize and a pair of binoculars the second.

The lovely clear weather continued into the evening which allowed the second part of our event - the Stargazing Live part - to take place. This was just as busy as the daytime event and children and adults were treated to many a fine object. For a lucky few that arrived early the planet Mercury was a real highlight. Jupiter, another big highlight rose later in the evening and this produced the usual wows. M37 a lovely cluster in Auriga, M42 - Orion Nebula, the Moon and other objects were on display throughout the evening.

Huge thanks must go to all members who helped during the day and matter how big or small a role each member had it was a real team effort that made the event so successful one.


Cosmic Kidz

Our first Cosmic Kidz event turned out to be a huge success. We had booked the sports hall from 1pm with the view to setting up and opening the doors at 2pm. Visitors started arriving at 1.30pm whilst we were still setting up and during the course of the afternoon the sports hall filled up with some two hundred plus children and their parents.

There were many things for the children to partake in which included a planetarium show every hour, microscopes for the children to use, telescope displays and comet making displays. The children also had the opportunity to wear a real Sokal space suit; the type that Tim Peake is wearing up on the ISS. The planetarium shows, space suit and comet making turned out to be a real hit with both children and parents enjoying them.

We also had a Cosmic Kidz competition and raffle draw which had some wonderful prizes provided by Tring Astronomy including two telescopes. The smiles on the children who won them was brilliant.

Sadly the weather did not assist us and we were unable to do any solar observing or night time observing but the events during the day more than made up for this.