Several society members attended Shears Green Junior School on Friday 23rd September 2022 with their own or a society telescope to take part in the school’s ‘Cosmic Camp’. 

Below are 2 accounts of the evening by CMHASD members Diane Clarke and Gary Hunt who both helped at the event.

Diane wrote ”The Society was invited for its second visit to the “Cosmic Camp” at Shears Green Junior School  on Friday the 23rd of September.  Several members were present, bringing 5 telescopes including Anita & Isaac, 2 of the Societies “Dobs”.

When we arrived we were enthusiastically greeted by several of the campers in spite of the somewhat overcast conditions that never dampened their spirits.  So we decided to persevere and set up our telescopes with an initial idea of focusing on various cranes & other industrial architecture along a distant horizon to give the campers something to see through the eyepiece.  All the while hoping the sky would clear.

Eventually the clouds started to break initially giving views of Altair & Deneb,  two of the stars that form the asterism known as the “summer triangle”.  As the cloud continued to break the campers were treated to views of Jupiter & its 4 main Galilean Moons through our telescopes.  Unlike last year there was no Moon and unfortunately the clouds did not break enough for us to offer the campers views of the planets Saturn or Mars.

Apart from having the 5 telescopes present we also gave 3 indoor presentations, these included showing the campers some astronomical images taken by the members, along with talks and demonstrations covering both the solar system & the constellations.

The campers had also been learning about the ISS and a visible Pass was expected so with great anticipation we gathered the camper’s together as the clouds broke enabling them to see the ISS that was greeted with a resounding cheer as it passed overhead.  This was a very enjoyable evening for members & campers alike so much so that yet again we stayed longer than expected.”

Gary wrote “From a personal point of view and as an enthusiastic member of Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford (CMHASD), I found the experience of helping the young students of Shears Green Primary School see the night sky very rewarding. This night was Shears Green’s annual Cosmic Camp and CMHASD was very happy to help again (we helped out last year), as we love to share our fascination of astronomy and all things space! Most CMHASD members have started our fascination with astronomy at an early age and we are committed to inspire young minds to look into the night sky and wonder just like we did many years ago.

 Last years event had clear night skies, sadly this year was mostly cloudy, but fortunately no rain. However, there were the occasional gaps in the clouds that allowed us to show some of the children Jupiter and some of its moons. We were also fortunate enough to show the children the International Space Station passing high overhead, the resulting cheers and screams of delight were deafening! Some CMHASD members also gave talks and educational games indoors to the children which were very well received.
The staff of Shears Green were very welcoming and enthusiastic, with themselves peering though our telescopes (including our Dobsonian telescopes Issac and Anita) and asking astronomical questions… we hope they enjoyed it as much as we did, especially as some of them were to stay with the children for the rest of the night in their outdoor camp!  We enjoyed our visit and if there is another Shears Green Cosmic Camp next year we will be pleased to be asked to attend again I am sure!” 

The Society did not take any photos of the event as there were too many safeguarding issues however the school blog hopefully will post some photos soon as they did with Cosmic Camp 2021– so do keep checking.

The Society would like to say a big Thank you to all the members who helped make this event a success.