Mexborough & Swinton Astronomical Society
Achievements and Performance - Part 3
- Parent Category: Annual Reports
International Year of Astronomy 2009
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) is a global effort initiated by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and UNESCO to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night-time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery.
International Year of Astronomy Promotional Video
The International Year of Astronomy has been a very busy year for the Society; to summarise our contribution to IYA2009 are as follows: 3 fairs, 17 Public Viewing Evenings, 13 Solar Sundays, 3 "A Night Under the Stars" Star Parties, an astrophotography display at a local arts centre, 6 outreach visits, a display which toured 12 local libraries, and 20 meetings featuring guest and members speakers.
Feedback from Steve Owens, UK Co-ordinator for IYA2009, shows that of 57 UK astronomical societies who completed the IYA2009 survey Mexborough & Swinton Astronomical Society ran more IYA2009 events than any other society and ranked 8th in terms of the number of people to participate although for some events such as library displays where visitor numbers are difficult to determine our estimates have tended to err on the conservative side. To quote from an email sent by Steve Owens "MSAS ran the most events during IYA2009! Congratulations! You ran a total of 78 events, with South-east Kent AS coming a close second with 74 events."
We reported in our Annual Report and Statement of Accounts for the year ended March 31st 2009 on the first three months on IYA2009 and the first two of our special "A Night under the Stars" events held at Wombwell Woods and Thrybergh Country Park.
The third "A Night under the Stars" event was also held at Thrybergh Country Park on September 26th 2009. This event was arranged with Rotherham MBC, we would like to thank RMBC for their support. We are delighted that the close working relationship we have developed with the staff at Thrybergh Country Park has resulted in further observing events being planned for later in 2010 and we expect these events to become a standard part of our annual programme. The September "A Night under the Stars" benefited from better publicity and weather conditions. We provided 10 telescopes of varying sizes and few pairs 10x50 binoculars for the public to use under supervision. The public were invited to bring their own instruments and we would show them how to set them up and operate them; this was a very popular part of the night with about 6 instruments being brought. PowerPoint presentations ran throughout the evening. The night was a success yet again with an attendance of 250/300, from the people we asked they all said that it had been a very interesting and enjoyable evening.
The society designed and built a static display which spent 226 days on display across 12 local libraries and one local secondary school. Feedback from the library staff was very positive; the display aroused a lot of public interest. We are grateful to the staff of the following libraries for their enthusiastic support: Swinton, Thurcroft, Kiveton, Rawmarsh, Wath, Rotherham, Greasbrough, Kimberworth Park,
Library Touring Display
The Society's Astrophotography display was installed at Rotherham Borough Arts Centre for a total of 57 days (October 9th 2009 to January 5th 2010); this was followed by a 6 week exhibition at Swinton library. We were advised by the centre staff that the number of people passing through must have been hundreds.
The map below shows locations of our IYA2009 activities, click on individual markers for a brief summary of the event(s) at each venue. thr map controls allow you to zoom in or out and pan around the map.
|Static Outreach display|
|Outreach event - show or gala|
|"A Night Under the Stars" outreach event|
|Our Observatory and Meeting Room|
Our main aim for IYA2009 was to promote astronomy and raise the profile of the Society. Sadly the attitude of the media both nationally and locally towards IYA2009 was apathetic at best. In spite of this the Society worked very hard and our efforts have been rewarded; several new members joined us in 2009 and the early months of 2010 and visitor numbers have increased. Interest in our Community Access Programme has also been reinvigorated.
The £900 grant given by the Institute of Physics (IoP) to support our IYA2009 efforts; this was used to pay for the purchase of promotional materials and printing supporting literature, which visitors could take away.