Asteroid Day at the Cronyn Observatory, June 30th, 2018

Hazy skies greeted 37 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory for Asteroid Day, Saturday, June 30th, 2018, 6:00—8:00 p.m. This special event was hosted by Western University’s Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX) in collaboration with the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Department of Earth Sciences. Asteroid Day is held each year on the anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska impact event in Siberia—the largest in recent history—and is a global awareness campaign bringing people around the world together to learn about asteroids and how to protect future generations from cosmic impacts. The event organizer was Western University doctoral graduate in astronomy, Parshati Patel, who is Outreach Program Coordinator for Western’s Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Henry Leparskas, Heather MacIsaac, Norm McCall, Bob Duff, Mark Tovey and Edith Tovey. There were 2 tables set up inside the door to the lecture room, on the left and right-hand sides respectively: (1) the “Meteorites and Impactites Display,” presided over by Geoscience Collections Curator Alysha McNeil and 2 graduate students, and (2) the “Edible Rock Analysis” display, presided over by undergraduate student Dana Beaton.

Mark Tovey presented his digital slide presentation “W. G. Colgrove and the Dresden Meteorite” in the lecture room and fielded questions to an audience of 10 people. Mark then gave tours of the downstairs history rooms, showing visitors the“1940s Period Room,” a recreation of Dr. H. R. Kingston’s 1940 office, with his brass refractor and the Sotellunium—a mechanical eclipse demonstration model built by W. G. Colgrove—on display; the “1967 Period Room,” recreating the early control room of the Elginfield Observatory to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation—Canada 150; and the newly created “W. G. Colgrove Workshop Period Room.” The 3 “Period Rooms” were designed by RASC London Centre member Mark Tovey.

Since it was daylight, the big 25.4cm refractor (Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X) in the dome was directed towards the communications tower in south London. On the observation deck outside the dome, Henry Leparskas showed visitors prominences and other features on the Sun through the observatory’s 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope (CEMAX 18mm eyepiece, 44X) on the Sky-Watcher EQ5 mount. Heather MacIsaac showed people the Sun through her Celestron NexStar 90SLT 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain (32mm Plossl eyepiece, 39X) with a Kendrick Astro Baader film solar filter.

The event was over by around 8:00 p.m. after an enjoyable afternoon for the visitors learning about meteorites, the history of the observatory and viewing the Sun through solar filtered telescopes.