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28th February 2009

What do rockets, telescopes, sundials, umbrellas and toilet rolls have in common? Well all these and more were available to create and have fun with at SIGMA's extremely successful Astronomy Fun Day held at Dyke & Community Village Hall on 28th February.

The free, fun day daytime event started at 2pm and with 106 members of the public coming along during the day to enjoy the various workshops available. Most popular was the rocket making, closely followed by the umbrella astronomy and sundials. Many happy children left clutching their handmade sundials, full of new and exciting knowledge to look up and explore.

The handmade rockets were continuously created and successfully launched outside throughout the afternoon, with several potential engineers designing their own special rockets with varying flight patterns! There was a constant supply of cardboard tubes for the constellation telescope making and younger children were kept busy with a colouring-in table.

As well as this there was the Umbrella Astronomy workshop where participants could create some popular constellations, ready to view above their own heads. Anyone who was still unoccupied was able to enjoy the toilet roll solar system presentation where Bill Leslie laid out the facts of the solar system using only paper toilet roll and playdoh!

Unfortunately the good weather didn't hold and we reverted to our "wet weather" programme for the evening which consisted of several interesting talks by SIGMA members, including information on how to get started in astronomy and what you can expect to see in the night sky from Moray. Those visitors who came along thoroughly enjoyed the evening's entertainment and were full of questions for the "experts" on hand.

Congratulations to Lewis Sherman on winning the binoculars in the Spot the Star competition. Our thanks go to Strathspey Binoculars for kindly donating the binoculars.

SIGMA wishes to express their deepest gratitude to the Royal Astronomical Society for their generous grant and to Going Nova for the use of their rocket launching kit.

Photographs from the day's events can be seen here, courtesy of Gordon Grant.