Boys & Girls Club of London, Solar Observing at the Cronyn Observatory, August 30th, 2017

Partly cloudy skies greeted 19 visitors (15 children and 4 staff members) from the Boys & Girls Club of London for solar observing at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Wednesday, August 30th, 2017, 2:00 p.m. They were welcomed by graduate student Amanda DeSouza who brought them downstairs into the “Black Room,” where she showed them the “Transit Demo” model—demonstrating the transit detection method for finding extra-solar planets—and the “Spectroscopy Demo,” inviting the visitors to put on diffraction grating glasses and view the spectra of 4 gas discharge lamps set up on the table, including: hydrogen, helium, neon and mercury.

RASC London Centre was represented by Peter Jedicke, Bob Duff and new youth member Jacob Renders. Peter and Bob installed the Herschel Wedge and the brass Perkins Elmer 76.2mm eyepiece (57.6X) in the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. Peter then directed the 25.4cm refractor towards the Sun so as to project the solar image onto the (attached) projection screen. When Amanda brought everybody upstairs into the dome Peter gave a talk about the big refractor and how the Herschel Wedge worked to reduce the heat and brightness of the sunlight going through the eyepiece to project the Sun’s image on the projection screen.

On the observation deck outside the dome, Amanda and Bob set up the observatory’s 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope using the equatorial mount from the Orion AstroView 6 (15cm) equatorial reflector. However, the Sun was frequently obscured by clouds and the telescope could not be brought to focus with either the CEMAX 25mm (32X) or 18mm (44X) CEMAX eyepieces. Jacob Renders brought his Bushnell Voyager 114mm (f/8) Newtonian reflector telescope, although it was not set up in the limited time available. Peter explained how the Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope worked and could show prominences on the Sun be selecting a very specific shade in the spectrum of red light. Peter had also brought the Sunspotter (provided by Fanshawe College), which was set up on the observation deck.

The visitors were gone by around 3:15 p.m. after an interesting tour of the “Black Room”—with the “Transit Demo” and “Spectroscopy Demo”—and the dome, with opportunity to view a projected image of the Sun through the big 25.4cm refractor and Herschel Wedge.