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Sea to stars launches in Cornwall
Jumpsuits at the ready: the team and some of their targets
Image Credit: Mark Wrigley

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Sea to stars launches in Cornwall

Volunteer Hannah Jago, with the mission patch

Image Credit: M Wrigley

One of the Society’s Bicentenary outreach projects got off to a flying start over Easter, with a launch event that had Truro residents and tourists talking about astronomy.

One of the Society’s Bicentenary outreach projects got off to a flying start over Easter, with a launch event that had Truro residents and tourists talking about astronomy.

            Cornwall Sea to Stars was funded as part of the second tranche of RAS200 projects, announced in 2017. Their goal is to share current astronomy and space science with the people of Cornwall – build on the importance of the stars for navigation in this region with its strong fishing tradition. The location of their launch event – the Lemon Quay in Truro – highlighted that heritage but the focus of the events over the Easter holiday weekend was very much on today’s science. On a breezy but bright Good Friday, alongside the market selling local crafts were solar telescopes, binoculars, displays of astronomical images and meteorites and a host of volunteers in bright blue jumpsuits with the Sea to Stars mission patch. “I was roped in to help today,” said Hannah Jago, a social worker who has been developing her interest in astronomy at Roseland Observatory. “I’ve not used a solar telescope before but I love it.” 

            Children were the focus of the two day launch event, with images of the planets and details of their sizes lurking around the square in an astronomy-themed treasure hunt. Children who found them all were rewarded with a badge; their parents were engaged in conversation, and were enthusiastic about the groups’ plans, especially the schools workshops. “The thing I’m being asked most,” said Clint O’Connor, Chair of the project, “is when can you come to our school?”

            One of the goals of Sea to Stars is to visit schools across Cornwall, with an assortment of modules to suit different age groups. Pilot sessions have been organized for the summer term. This gives the team time over the summer holidays to refine their materials and workshops before the school visits programme gets up to speed in the autumn. In addition, the team will be attending events over the summer, such as Another essential strand of the project is to develop a network of volunteers across the county. The first recruits were in evidence in Truro, working hard to show sunspots to  shoppers and spread the word about the coming events.

            Truro Girls High School is a partner in the project and their students were very much in evidence as volunteers. “I enjoy the practical side of astronomy, setting up the solar telescopes,” said Lauren, a volunteer from THSG. “And learning how the telescopes work helps my physics.” “I like the fun aspect of figuring out how telescopes work,” agreed Charlotte also from THSG. ”We’re using our knowledge of lenses, but this makes it fun.” 

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