Rhemi and Ella riding a bike and scooter up at the Observatory's viewing area. Image Credit: Roger Groom

The late-night sky-gazing has occasional moments of quiet, and where some astrophotographers stare up endlessly into the dark void of awe and wonder, Roger Groom was busy scribbling drawings and notes onto his iPad. Like Einstein on his chalkboard, Roger rallied notes and diagrams for a plan hatched in the deep, dark night.

For you see, like the great scientists before him, Roger had a problem that was incredibly difficult to solve. How do you keep a group of 3-year old’s entertained for at least 2-3 hours at a Perth Observatory Volunteer Function? For those of us who have ever had to be around small children for any amount of time know that this problem surpasses all laws of logic and physics, however, it is not entirely impossible.

Rhemi and Ella making rockets. Image Credit: Roger Groom

Roger’s scribbles danced in his head and soon he journeyed into the local art and craft store, for Styrofoam spheres, glue, cardboard and all things glittery and shiny. The plan was now underway. There was no turning back now.

On the big day of the Volunteer annual Christmas BBQ at the Perth Observatory out came the craft. The three-year old’s were shy at first but curious, and it wasn’t long until they jumped right into the activity, gluing and sticking gems, shapes and pipe cleaners to create magnificent rockets. As night fell the glow sticks were activated and giggles and smiles fuelled the rockets that blasted through the air around the premade Styrofoam planets and stars.

Rhemi and Ella made rockets. Image Credit: Roger Groom

They learned about the rings on Saturn, the heat of the Sun, and how to run in the dark without crashing into each other. As the rockets returned to earth at the end of the evening, fuel running out and eyelids getting heavy Roger knew the mission was a success… the three-year old’s were thoroughly entertained, and tired…. Well, at least until morning.