The South Peninsula Astronomy Club will be closing its doors for next year and going back to the drawing board.The club had its last meeting on Thursday 6 December in the minor hall of Fish Hoek Civic Centre. Chairperson of the club, Peter Laubscher, presented a thought-provoking talk titled “Are the Earth’s magnetic poles about to flip?” The club, which has been running for over 10 years, will not be meeting for the whole of next year and Laubscher says this will give them time to do things differently and think of imaginative ways to attract more crowds.Laubscher says there are a number of reasons why they decided to close, but the main reason is that they have seen a decline in numbers. “Attendance has dropped, and this is the main reason why we thought of closing for some time. We have to think about ways of doing it and attract a lot more people. Maybe people are tired of the current format so we have to see how we can do it in a way that will make people want to come to us all the time. We really need a different way to approach it.” The decision didn’t come easy for Laubscher and his committee. “We didn’t take the decision lightly and it didn’t happen overnight. We thought hard and long about it and we concluded that we just have to close and rethink the whole thing through. We didn’t want to close in the year so we kept going until the last meeting. The numbers don’t really justify the amount of work that goes into preparing for one meeting. There is a lot of research and consultation that can take up to months, so having five or 20 people really doesn’t justify the work that we put in. There is a lot of investigation and exploring of certain things and topics which is really time consuming. For one to do so much work there has to be a huge interest. We really loved doing this but now I think for the benefit of the club we had to take this decision,” he says.A lot of people who are fond of the club have questioned the decision, but Laubscher says it is for the best. “We have regular members. A lot of people are sad but we can’t continue with low numbers. Putting a meeting together takes quiet a lot of time and commitment. So If we could have more people, at least 50 in every meeting, it will be wonderful.”He stresses that the club is not closing permanently.