In preparation for The distribution of GALILEOSCOPES to schools in Jamaica, The Astronomical Association of Jamaica decided that instead of having a “Star Party” for each school to establish “Astro Clubs”, it was decided to group the schools in the area and provide a safe site for the event for the first of these arrangements were made with LT. Colonel G. Rowe of the Jamaica Defence Force for the Parade Ground at the Moneague Training Camp. Members of the Group for the trip were Cleveland Gustard, Shakira Wade, Marvalyn Campbell , Chris Lee and Errol Rickman. Wayne Chin and His niece were to come in from Montego Bay.

On April 23, 2010 a group of members from our team of astronomers set out from Kingston at 2.45PM for the drive half way across the island and up the Mount Rosa to the town of Moneague situated at an elevation of about 2000ft above sea level. This took around 2hrs and the climb up the winding roads with its awe inspiring scenes and rapid change in temperature from the heat of the city had many favourable comments from the back seat drivers, some their first trip. The pristine green foliage of the mountain was interrupted at times by the huge gouges of white limestone contrasting with the red soil of the bauxite mines in the area. This was the construction of the new highway scarring the scene.

Moneague, a small town of few people was an ideal site for any astronomy venture as it was free of any light pollution and we are anxious to get to the viewing area to set up by 5.00pm. There was a full cloud cover on our arrival at the camp where we met Lt. Henry who was in charge of preparations. He introduced Corporal Brown who was in charge of the kitchen to whom we gave some ingredients to prepare hors’douvres for our guests. A number of schools were present and waiting in the lecture hall for our presentation.

The hall was well equipped with computer and big screen projection. Chris Lee loaded the DVD ‘400 years of the telescope’ which was very appropriate as it dealt with the Galileo Story. Errol introduced the Galileoscope and pointed out that this was modelled off the one first used but with vastly upgraded optics. He showed the members of newly formed Astro Clubs how to dismantle the made up telescope and rebuild it. After the demos the schools were presented with the free Galileoscope with the charge to use it to the fullest.


The following schools received:


Moneague College and High School, a teacher training institution. Telescope Received By Ms. Janet White President of the Schools Astro Club. Mr Errol Rickman President of the Astronomical Association of Jamaica made the presentation.


Fern Court High School. Situated in the town of Clearmont in the parish of St. Ann.
Telescope received by Sedi Ann Graham President of the Tourism Club and Interim President of the Astro Club. Presenter was Mrs. Marvelyn Campbell of the AAJ Project Committee.


Iona High School. Port Maria St Mary. Telescope received by Mr. Oswald Taylor and Presented by Mr. Errol Rickman President of the AAJ.


Jeffreyville Allage School. Clover Hill, Moneague PO. St. Ann. AAJ member Ms. Shakira Wade Presenting Gscope to Mrs. Sasha douglas.


Demonstrating GalileoScope

After closing the guests were invited to the Parade Ground. Where the Telescopes were set up. The Clouds were breaking op and the Moon was in Full View. Saturn and Mars were also outstanding. We had the 8’’ Casegrain Set on Saturn and the 6” Newtonian set on Saturn. We had caught the Orion Nebula earlier but the Clouds closed that down we had a total of about 80 persons viewing most of them for the first time A group of Overseas soldiers here in Jamaica for courses at the camp also shared in the viewing which went on until 10.30 PM.

Lining up to view the celestial beauties












Report by Errol Rickman.



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