8304 HA&SYC

A significant milestone in Astronomy & Space Science outreach

was achieved on Friday 19th April at the first meeting of the Hermanus Junior Astronomy & Space Club (“HJASC”), which is a collaborative initiative of the Hermanus Astronomy Centre (“HAC”), the South African National Space Agency (“ SANSA”) and Lukhanyo Primary school.

Sixteen learners from grades 4 – 7 at Lukhanyo Primary,  Natural Science Educators Zukie Ngolomane and Douglas Stuurman and representatives of both HAC and SANSA attended this inaugural event.

John Saunders of the HAC presented an interesting and very lively programme comprising an introductory game, a brief slide presentation on the meeting’s topic of Seasons, an interactive game illustrating the concept (see photo) and a very lively Question & Answer session.  John illustrated how the seasons that we know are caused by the 23.5o tilt of the Earth’s rotation axis relative to its orbital plane, the Ecliptic.

The 20+ questions asked by the learners gave a clear indication of their main interest and will serve as guideline for future meeting topics.

The next meeting will focus on Earth’s nearest neighbour, the Moon.

Subject to weather conditions and other commitments HJASC meetings will be alternated with star-gazing sessions through naked eyes, binoculars and telescopes at the proposed Astronomy Education Centre & Observatory site adjacent Rotary Drive.

This is the first time that an Junior Astronomy and/or Space Science Club has been formed in South Africa – but is hopefully not the last.

Any other schools interested in participating in this major science outreach initiative are requested to contact the HAC’s Education Outreach Coordinator Lynette Geldenhuys at 084 515 4644 or lynettegel@gmail.com.