Every year, the members of NSAS assist with several Outreach Programs to help those who would not otherwise have access to astronomical equipment.
One of our most important events is the Macquarie University Astronomy Open Night, usually held in May each year and frequented by between 500-1,000 participants. The club has had a close association with the University for some time with several of our guest speakers a year coming from the University Astrophysics Department and PhD students. Our members provide approximately 8 telescopes for the night viewing, and in the exhibitors’ hall the club has a stall run by volunteers who introduce visitors to the club and the benefits of membership.
In addition to the Macquarie Open night, we are occasionally asked by schools and scout groups to provide telescopes and speakers for Astronomy evenings they are holding, particularly around the time of Science Week (early-mid August).
In order to participate in most outreach events, volunteers will need to have obtained a Working With Children Clearance – the club will not permit anyone without a current clearance to participate in outreach events where children are involved. This is a relatively simple procedure and can be done at no cost. The club maintains a register of all members who have secured their Working With Children clearance. Once you have obtained your clearance you will need to forward a copy of the document to the club’s email.
Attending these events introduces NSAS to the general public and in return increases enquiries and membership. Occasionally we receive a financial donation for our services. Prior to the event an email will be sent out requesting volunteers to assist with the event and if possible provide a scope for the evening. The more scopes we provide the greater chance of a successful night.
These functions cannot proceed without the volunteers and we are very grateful for the members who provide assistance at the events.