We were on Waitarere Beach for new years day, one of New Zealands many beautiful holiday and camping spots on the west coast of the Lower North Island. I am one of the members from a nearby observing group called The Levin Stargazers but this time it was just me, my wife and my 6 month old daughter doing our bit for the world.
It was a scorching hot day and we set up outside a local cafe and store where we knew everyone
would go for ice creams. There was some cloud floating around but mostly the sky behaved for us.
We used the solar projection method.
My wife's the artist that chalked up a quick sign to attract attention. This worked very well, especially announcing that it was FREE! Even those that chose not to take a closer look were still exposed to the fact that this is the year of astronomy.
For the sign, we took at old painting and used chalk paint over the top, this meant we had a
nice cheap but effective eye catcher.
We had a reasonable turn out, we were there from 1pm to 3pm. Its amazing the people that you meet, some people have no knowledge of astronomy but many have at least an interest in learning and in a small place like New Zealand most people have connections to the subject in one way or another.
It feels good to have kick started the year. A big thanks to all the local organisers who made the call to get us out on the streets making a difference.