Twelve teachers from Nshupu Secondary School in the Arusha region paid a visit to Mt. Meru Astronomy Observatory. It was the first visit of its kind with so many teachers at once observing the night sky at the observatory.
The visit was organized, by the academic office of the Nshupu secondary school lead by Mr. Rashid Mkwinda. It was the first time the teachers closely observing the heavenly bodies using a big telescope.
The late Chuck Ruehle, the man behind the observatory establishment would be pleased to be there for this moment. Though we can’t fill his presence, we believe his spirit is cherishing this moment with us all.
It was his vision, for the observatory to be the center for science education and learning. This day was for sure a starting point for that.
Teachers’ first light experience was decorated with an observation of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus using both big and small telescopes at the observatory.
Craters of the moon and color patterns, Jupiter’s moons, and Saturn rings are some of the good memories of the day that will remain with teachers for long. It is certain, some of the experience will be used in the classrooms to foster learning.
Discussion on their experience is already ongoing on Facebook where more teachers are inspired to visit the observatory to experience their first light.
Useful suggestions were also provided by the teacher to enhance the observation experience. Being the first time the observatory receive that big number of teachers, it was recommended to connect the big telescope with the LCD screen in the observatory for easy observation.
This could also address the challenge for tall people who had squit to observe through the eyepiece for shorter ones not to reach the eyepiece. We welcome experiences from other observatories on how they managed to address similar challenges.