On March 22nd 2013 Br Guy Consolmagno came to visit St Cronans National School in Bray Co Wicklow. Even though he had a very busy schedule while in Ireland, he had kindly agreed to this extra task. The object was to say hello to my astronomy club boys. I had been running the club since 2010. Its members were school boys and their parents. We met once a month and engaged in wide-ranging interesting astronomy.
There was great excitement and anticipation at the school that day. So when we arrived the hall was filled to capacity with 500 boys. My club had about 18 boys. Br Guy wasn't phased by the unexpected volume of children waiting for his every word. He also signed a copy of his book Turn Left at Orion for the school library. It was a red-letter day for the school, everyone was so happy.
St Cronans Astronomy Club
In our little astronomy club we took part in many international events and global astronomy experiences. We even made a video about the constellation Eridanus. Our video with special messages was sent via radio waves to Epsilon Eridani, This was achieved via a radio telescope associated with Blackrock Castle Observatory in Co Cork. Lots of involvement from the school , the parents , teachers , the choir and technical volunteers .The children wrote their own special messages for the video. Drawing and creative activities are always part of my way of bringing astronomy to life. The boys were about 10 years old at the time, the video will reach that star when they are about 21.
I have many fond memories of the school and our astronomy club. There was great cooperation from the parents and the teachers in the school. It was so very positive and energizing.
Louisburgh Astronomy Club
Just a few weeks ago I started a new astronomy club in Louisburgh Co Mayo where I now live. The intention is that this club will be for all the people in the community. No matter what age or no matter what level of understanding they have about astronomy.
We have only met twice so there is a long way to go but already it is exciting to be part of it. Families are encouraged to join together and individuals are welcome, being interested is the only requirement. Drawing is once again a vehicle for learning. The members are embracing the challenge. We meet once a month in the local community bookshop, called Books at One. Here below are a few images from our efforts so far. Our first meeting was part of the IAU 100 hours of astronomy events worldwide. It was cloudy so we drew the waxing crescent moon indoors and had a presentation about the moon.