For the ninth straight year, the SJAA hosted a booth, and lots of solar scopes, at San Jose’s District 9 community fair called Celebrate Cambrian. This event took place on Sunday, 26 August 2018.This area of San Jose is known as Cambrian Park, and features the Cambrian Community Center, which is situation on the grounds of the former Camden High School campus. SJAA volunteers maintain a presence at this annual event to contribute back to the community in which our organization has its basecamp at Houge Park.
As a member of this local community, I have spearheaded all of SJAA’s participation in the event. It’s essentially a solar viewing event, so Wolf Witt, our new leader of the Solar Program, again stepped up to help with the event. We showcased three solar scopes, the club’s flagship Lunt 100mm H-alpha scope, a recently donated Lunt 80mm, and Wolf’s personal Celestron. The 80mm rig was outfitted with a Mallincam camera which was wired to an outdoor-rated flat panel display to more easily show visitors what they will see in the eyepiece of the other two scopes. And finally, we had Wolf’s Lunt 60 on his Celestron NexStar mount.
The sun helped us by hosting a couple of interesting features. There was a fairly large prominence at the four o’clock position which showed up nicely on the monitor and in the eyepiece. The sun also displayed a nice filament across the face of its disk, again easily spotted in the scopes and through the camera. One of the posters of the sun that we had out there coincidentally
mimicked what we could see in the eyepiece, with the prominence at the 4 o’clock position and the location of the filament. Talk about cooperation!
We had a great group of volunteers manning the scopes and the booth. Our new social media manager, Jessica Johnson (who recently got SJAA on Instagram!), was doing a great job guiding the visitors through the scopes.
We had another young lady helping all day, a high school student who is in the process of forming a new astronomy club at her school. We had two more high school students manning the booth and helping kids and their parents learn about ultraviolet light by making bracelets out of UV-sensitive beads. The beads were a hit, with oohs and ahhs all around once the beads quickly developed color when exposed to sunlight!
Bill Gottlieb also participated, helping explain aspects of what we were viewing. SJAA President Swami Nigam also paid a visit to ensure things were running smoothly.
Thanks to our volunteers who gave up most of their Sunday to help bring astronomy to the general public. We’ll be out there again next year!