Centre for Planetary Science & Exploration Event, Cronyn Observatory, October 8th, 2014


Partly cloudy skies greeted some 50 visitors to the Centre for Planetary Science & Exploration (CPSX) event at the Cronyn Observatory, Wednesday, October 8th, 8:30 p.m. This was following the 10th Annual CPSX Distinguished Public Lecture “Finding Earth’s Twin: The Great Escape” by MIT Professor Dr. Sara Seager in Western’s Paul Davenport Theatre, Talbot College, 7:00 p.m. There was a reception in the Cronyn Observatory lecture room beneath the dome with Dr. Sara Seager and Western University Physics & Astronomy faculty and staff including Drs. Paul Wiegert and Pauline Barmby, CPSX Administrative Coordinator Jennifer Heidenheim, Computer Resources person Henry Leparskas with his camera, and others. The City of London Mayor, Joni Baechler, and her son were also there.

RASC London Centre members assisting in the dome and with amateur telescopes included Dale Armstrong, Everett Clark, Tricia Colvin, Bob Duff, Peter Jedicke and Mark Tovey. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was also there at the reception. RASC Toronto Centre President Charles Darrow came down from Toronto with Dr. Sara Seager and Peter Jedicke talked to him about the history of the Cronyn Observatory and showed him around the dome.

Graduate student Parshati Patel showed a few visitors the communications tower in south London through the big 25.4cm refractor (52mm Erfle eyepiece, 84X) early in the evening. Parshati then gave a brief talk to the Mayor and her son about the history of the Cronyn Observatory and also explained the 2 clocks on the east wall of the dome and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time. Henry Leparskas also talked a bit about the Cronyn Observatory, adding some history Parshati said she had not heard before. When Dr. Sara Seager and the rest of the guests arrived in the dome Parshati also talked to them about the Cronyn Observatory. Parshati then directed the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome towards the full Moon (28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X) for the guests to view as it emerged from the clouds in the eastern sky. Dr. Sara Seager viewed the Moon through the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome towards the end of the evening.

On the roof patio outside the dome Dale Armstrong operated the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain, first directing it towards the TV screen visible through the Student Recreation Centre window and then showing people the Moon (15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece, 133X). Mark Tovey also showed people Albireo through the 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain (133X). Tricia Colvin directed the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian towards the wind turbine on the Engineering building and Bob Duff later directed it towards the Moon (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X).

The visitors enjoyed the views through all the telescopes and asked many questions. Mark Tovey and Dale Armstrong talked about astronomy with London Mayor Joni Baechler and her son, who viewed through the Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. Everybody was gone and the Observatory was closed down by around 9:55 p.m.