What an amazing day! Despite weather forecasts predicting cloudy skies, all day long, we were incredibly lucky.
My morning was spent giving back-to-back talks about the Mercury transit of the Sun to four different classes. What an amazing few hours. I love sharing astronomy with youngsters. Their enthusiasm and excitement never fails to thrill me. I was, as always, overwhelmed by their insightfulness and the sheer volume of questions fired at me, from five-year-olds right through to eleven-year-olds! We were supposed to be concentrating on Mercury, but segued far too easily into the realms of Betelgeuse, black holes, spaghettification (!), alien life, spaceship travel to Mars and Venus, what would happen if Earth stopped spinning, and so many, many more. Their level of knowledge was incredible!
By the time noon arrived they were beside themselves with excitement and my colleague, Geoff Shaw, and I were set up on the school playground lawn, confronted by two long queues as we aimed our solar scopes skyward and the children, one by one, were able to witness the innermost planet, Mercury, transit the orange/red orb of our Star.
It was an incredible sight, one made all the more memorable because of the sheer delight and joy expressed by all the children.
Once again, well done and thank you to Head Teacher, Lindsey Hudson and her staff, for their foresight, determination and far-sightedness, all of which enabled the school children not to miss a moment of what was a wonderful, nay, perfect day!
Both Geoff and I were so thrilled to make it possible. And a final enormous thank you must pass to Paul Foster of the East Sussex Astronomical Society who so kindly allowed me to use to his solar scope ... it proved to be invaluable!