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Activites in Ukraine, 2009 by Alexander Prokophiev

This has been a very active time in Ukraine with the amateur astronomers. 

On Sept. 25, American Jim Wiggins gave a presentation for the aerospace school children about his experiences observing solar eclipses. He showed his photos and videos from his recent visit to China for the totality on July 22, 2009, where he had an opportunity to observe the eclipse without clouds. The children asked him many questions about previous totalities, his work for NASA and in Africa, and how he became interested in astronomy. The meeting took place in the National Center of Aerospace Education for the youth of Ukraine, the center is named after A.M.Makarov. There is a museum of space probes and other equipment in the Center, so we also had an oppotunity to tour the facility. Also attending this meeting were the members of the Committee of the Galilean Nights 2009 Project and the several members of  the amatuer astronomy club, "AstroDnepr". http://www.astroclub.kiev.ua/forum/index.php?topic=9701.msg121277#msg121277 post 18 with pics).

Sept.,26. "AstroDnepr" held a meedting in the Dnepropetrovsk Planetarium. Among the featured guests were Natalia Virnina from the amateur astronomy club"Astrodes"  in Odessa, Ukraine with a report about her observations of varible stars in an observatory in Slovakia and Jim Wiggins with a report about special effects of totality this year. There were about 50 guests at the meeting. After the formal presntations, we observed Jupiter and some of deep sky objects (M31, M57 etc.) with three telescopes. 

Sept.27. There was an extra meeting in the Dnepropetrovsk Planetarium with Alexander Kovaljov, a member of "AstroDnepr" who collects meteorites. He showed his collection to the Club members and Jim Wiggins. There was a meeting with another amateur astronomy club from Pridneprovsk - a far districk of Dnepropetrovsk. The name of the club is 'Follow the Sun' (after the Beatles). There were demonstrations of totality and optical illusions made by some very young members of the club (6-10 years old). Jim Wiggins explained how to organize expeditions for totalities. Then Oleg Shilov ('AstroDnepr') told about his expedition to Shanghai this year, where unfortunately it was rainning during totality.  

Sept., 28. The National Mining University celebrated it's 110 Anniversary earlier in the month, so the Club 'AstroDnepr' decided to present the geology-mineralogy Museum with a collection of meteorites. This presentation had originally been done on the actual anniversary, but was repeated at this event on teh 28th for many television and newspaper reporters. Alexander Kovaljov, who actually made the gift to the Museum, gave interviews as well as Viktor Bojko, the manager of the labarotory of faculty of mineralogy and petrograpfy who operates the Museum. Then there was a tour of the Museumn for the 'AstroDnepr' members and Jim Wiggins. (you may see some pics http://www.astroclub.kiev.ua/forum/index.php?topic=9932.msg120690#msg120690 of the rehearsal before the event).  

Jim Wiggins worked for NASA  for 7 years, a chaser of total solar eclipses (he has observed 8 of them). He visited Ukraine in 2006 for the cornerstone event, the Cremea Urania 2006 Conference with John.Dobson and this year he visited the Kharkov region, Dnepropetrovsk and Kiev. He was accompanied on this trip with his partner Karen Waterston from Scotland; she also has his passion for solar eclipses and has observed two totalities. 

The schedule for Galilean Nights activities is posted on our site http://dneproplanet.dp.ua/astro.html and the forum of our club is a part at the Ukranian amateurs of astronomy movement http://www.astroclub.kiev.ua/forum/index.php?board=26.0