Solar Observing at Brecon Beacons Mountain Visitor Centre - 23 June 2018

Weeks of dry sunny weather throughout much of May and then into June. From experience this couldn't possibly last right through the summer solstice and our planned tie-in solar observing event at the Mountain Visitor Centre - but it did!

It's wonderful when all the planning, organising and effort put into outreach work out. We had been advertising this event for months, as had the National Park using all their social media, printed 'What's On' brochures and on the day placed an advert on the main A470 road.

A CAS team arrived on site at about 9.30 a.m. already armed with sun cream and hats as well as the observing equipment! And the Warden had provided us with the usual gazebo not, as for so many times in the past, to quickly dive under with the scopes and protect everything from the rain, but in this case, to provide some shade.

First prize to the young boy sporting a solar system T-shirt and who had had this event on his bedroom calendar for months and couldn't wait for us to set things up. What an enthusiastic start!

The prize for the best dressed CAS member goes once again to Mike Foley, our Secretary, who wore a very colourful sombrero!

And so it continued. Mike had the usual continual crowd around his table totally engaging his audience and presenting deserving youngsters with one of his large unique photographs to the sound of appreciative gasps. The public continued to come throughout the day, view the Sun and set up picnics on the ground to watch and join in with the Scottish dancing - yes, Scottish dancing! I didn't quite understand why it wasn't traditional Welsh dancing as the dance groups were themselves from South Wales. But they enjoyed, we enjoyed, the public certainly enjoyed so what more is there to be said?!

Lunch was eaten in snatches, we had a look through a telescope at the crowds on top on Pen Y Fan, and we met interesting people from all around the UK, including physicists from Merton College, Oxford University, and others from Finland, the Netherlands, Romania, South Africa and the United States.

Hopefully, we have passed on some enthusiasm and importantly we enjoyed - look at the pictures of the day. A new volunteer for CAS outreach said she was very glad she came. I'm happy with that! Would you like to join in the fun at the next event? You will be very welcome - please see me or any member of the Committee.

Theresa Cooper

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