Earth Hour – Mar 27, 2010
by Bruce McCurdy
I’m pleased to report that Earth Hour went very well this evening. Had a solid turnout of 5 astronomers and about 500 public. The former included Jay Lavender, Ross Sinclair, John Macnab, Dave Roles, and myself.
We got permission to bring our cars past the barricades on 102A Avenue, park on the deserted avenue and set up on the sidewalk there, which turned out to be not the greatest location since the lights on the plaza got turned off but the streetlights on 102A Avenue did not! But we were close to our vehicles and got tons of pedestrian traffic, including more than a few passersby who weren’t otherwise participating in the festivities but were happy to have a look through the scopes.
The bright gibbous Moon was our friend, rising behind Chancery Hall and well-placed throughout the evening. I kept my scope pointed at it almost throughout, with brief trips to Mars and eventually Saturn towards the end of the evening. For much of the time we had line-ups of 15, 20 or even 30 people at each scope. The lights went down at 20:30 and came back at 21:30 and still the folks lined up, so our original plan to bugger off as soon as the lights came up didn’t quite happen. It was a full hour later before we packed and headed off.
Thanks to John, Jay, Dave and Ross for your assistance; we had just enough to pull it off. It was a real fun crowd, lots of kids, and quite a range of cultures. They seemed extremely appreciative of our efforts, and were sympathetic to the light pollution issue. We gave out a ton of RASC business cards, star maps, IYA cards, and IDA pamphlets.
I was altogether too busy at the scope to ever get my token SQM reading, however did get a minute at the mic near the beginning of the festivities to represent our group and make a couple of comments about astronomy and the goal of light efficient communities.