The 4th ScopeX had nearly everything!
by Lerika Cross
In what has become the country's premier telescope and astronomy exhibition, the 4th annual telescope and astronomy day, ScopeX, held on 16 April at the SA Military History Museum, had something to offer each of the over 1000 people attending. Included were telescope making, astro-
Over 30 telescope makers showed off their handiwork, some came from as far as Durban, Bloemfontein and Reitz. Keith Lou's Telescope Making tent with Vince Nettmann's young team beveling and grinding away at their mirrors was a hit with visitors wanting to know how to make a telescope – the tent also made a nice shelter from the rain.
Chris Stewart, in judging the amateur telescope exhibits, had this to say: "Patrolling the field of amateur-
Not everybody who exhibited actually registered, but the ATM judges did their best to track down all exhibitors and scrutinise everything on display. As always, there were many small touches that we considered particularly meritorious, and naturally we would have liked to reward everyone who participated. But alas, we only had a few items to give away. In the end, the shortlist was obvious and the 3 judges were in total agreement. Congratulations to those who received awards, and thanks to all who participated. We hope to see you all back again next year and look forward to more surprises. Get working! "
Did the rain matter much? Chris Goosen didn’t think so: "I can truly say that I have not had such a great time without my wife, Yvonne, as I had at the show. Everybody was so helpful and friendly, great exhibits, goooooood food, and a lovely cool day. I was presented with just the right prize. Thank you so very much. Now, what can I build for the next ScopeX?"
The Sun put in an appearance late in the day and a few lucky people who cared to look saw some nice solar prominences through the Coronado solar telescopes.
When the Sun came out the power went off. By then Mike Melvill had almost completed his talk -
Francois, of Experilab, got a big skrik when his well prepared and eagerly awaited Science Show in the Delville Wood Hall set off the Museum’s newly installed smoke alarm system which no one knew how to stop -
The alarm also gave the people in the auditorium a skrik and delayed Case Rijsdijk's talk on THE COSMIC EGG (where we came from sort of stuff -
Case also judged the astro-
Why did we ask Mike to talk at ScopeX? The theme for the year was Space Travel and Mike became the first commercial Astronaut after flying SpaceShipOne to above 100 km on June 21 2004. How did we get Mike to talk at ScopeX? We sent e-
The commercial exhibitors from last year were back as well as some newcomers such as Popular Mechanics, this year's main commercial sponsor. Thanks to the gracious sponsorship from lead sponsor, SAASTA (South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement), Dr Pieter Kotze of the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory could come to present his talk called GEOMAGNETIC STORMS -
Some while back Military Intelligence and the SAP confiscated two Ratels from the Armoured Car Hall -
Also conveniently under cover (in the Aeroplane Hall) were people working away all day at the ASSA Desk, answering questions, selling stuff, giving away stuff, doing a sterling job.
It turned out a beautifully clear, crisp, evening -
What was missing from the 4th ScopeX? Well, Dave Gordon was missing and so was Melvyn Hannibal. Oom Eben van Zyl was not selling his books. It also didn’t snow or hail. So the day had nearly everything including a touch of magic by having the Melvills visit ScopeX.
Major John Keene of the War Museum said: "Hope you will be back next year". We will be – on 6 May 2006, see you there.