Friday June 5th, 2009 was our 4th appearance at the Cancer Society Relay for Life event, this year at the Royal Military College Parade Ground.

Kim & I arrived on scene at 6pm, found our location and started to set up in a minimal footprint. One table, our decorative astro table cloths and 50 packs of handouts in ziplock bags.
In the past few events, Susan’s idea of packaging handouts has worked out much better than many loose sheets of paper, blowing in the breeze, getting wet, dirty, etc.
These included the latest issue of Skynews, our own RASC-KC
brochures, a starfinder, some meteor notes and brochures, our
business card and a star chart and a What’s Up in the Sky with map handout.

We set up the 25cm Douglas scope with the 32mm University Optics eyepiece (x44) and viewed the sun for a short time with a full aperture Baader film filter until it dropped in behind the buildings.

That was followed by an almost full moon from around 7:45 pm onwards. Saturn popped out of the bright sky and from behind the tree around 9:30 pm and we spent the rest of the evening showing over 402 people Saturn at x88 with a x2 barlow with the 32mm eyepiece. The centre banner was up along with the IYA banner.

So much for the technical stuff. This was an evening of emotion. Group after group of cancer survivors and supporters stopped by to observe something new, something also from the world around them. Some stopped by to talk about their ordeals with cancer, and the need to share their experiences, gives you more of an understanding of what they faced, and conquered. The number of small children with cancer survivor ribbons on them looking at the Moon and Saturn was something else, it was a Galileo Moment that meant a little more to them. We had people step out of the initial survivors lap to thank us for coming out and giving them a chance to take a break or just come over to talk.

Kim was handing out astrocards left right and center over the course of our 6 hours there. A couple of members stopped in to chat and take some astro images of the moon. They had a good time, and we certainly did as well. We finally packed up after midnight and got home just before 1am.

The sky was hazy and transparency was not the greatest, but that did not dampen our memories of this night. They will be with us for along time, and the strength of the survivors gives us the strength to do this again next year.