Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Braeburn Space Day

Hands-On Universe has been undergoing an overhaul. It explains why we haven’t had a blog post since before last year’s hybrid solar eclipse on November 3rd. Since coming back from Turkana we have been busy with plenty of Science outreach activities all over the country and its amazing meeting people from all walks of life all equally impressed by the spectacle that is our cosmos. During our travels, we come across kindred spirits who spur us on to greater things. We are happy to state that we are expanding our mission, and we’re bringing on a new organization to help us realize our vision of inspiring minds all over the world. “The Travelling telescope”. http://www.travellingtelescope.co.uk/home/4576101799

The Travelling Telescope project was founded by Daniel “Chu” Owen in the UK and is focused on bringing astronomy to people from all walks of life in a unique and interactive way by hosting informal stargazing events at various locations around the country. The Travelling Telescope visits give members of the public the rare opportunity to look through a telescope for the first time and experience a guided tour of the local night sky. Astronomy can be a tricky subject to grasp, and a myriad of factors such as light pollution in cities & cloud cover often get in the way of proper sky observations. The TT effectively goes around this problem because being mobile means it’s able to avoid bright city lights and go around unfavorable weather patterns. Africa H.O.U deemed it wise to team up with this wonderful project & mind to add depth to our programmes as well as expand our reach to the entire country.  It’s exciting, this new direction we’re heading and we’ll certainly do our best to share the story of our journey with you.
Friday 28th February was not just any other day. It was Braeburn School’s space day. Jonathan Andrews, the Prep school’s head of Science had certainly put tremendous effort in making the event a success. We got there early in the morning and began setting up our equipment. The Telescopes and film screenings would take place in the high school, and the mobile planetarium in the elementary school.

Soon we would be swamped in crowds of curious children, seemingly anxious to peer through the telescopes and get a chance to go into the planetarium. From Jonathan who came dressed in an authentic NASA jumpsuit to the little kids in Darth Vader costumes complete with light sabers there was no doubt what the theme of the day was. It was a great day out and the atmosphere was electric when middle school students showcased their home made rockets. Some got lift, some fizzled and sputtered on the ground but the theme was an excellent opportunity for the children to learn about space exploration and the setbacks mankind has had to overcome throughout the space age.  We believe exposure to the advancements in science help expand young minds’ thought process and encourages inquiry based learning. Children and young people need to be empowered as decision makers in their own future; and this includes enabling their parents and supporters to make educational decisions with them from an early age in the way that Braeburn and all the other schools we have had the opportunity to work with do.
Soon the sun was setting subtly in the west and our day was done. There was already talk of a subsequent night event to follow shortly afterwards. We are happy to announce that Braeburn School, Garden Estate will be hosting the Travelling Telescope’s “Space Night:The Journey continues” on Friday, 23rd May 2014. More details on that event will be featured on our website, Facebook & Twitter pages.

Our  film “Good Luck, & Clear Skies: African Eclipse 2013” which debuted on 27th February at the Best Western Premier rooftop has also been receiving great response from all audiences, you can check it out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IorWrjteE4
As always, we are thankful to all our supporters and critics for all the tremendous support. The Travelling telescope project is one of the first mobilization and mutual learning action plans, leading to new ways of doing research and developing technologies which encompass societal needs and concerns here in Africa. We’re proud to be behind the new wave of thinkers that will change the world!