Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, August 10th, 2013

Clear skies greeted visitors to the Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, August 10th, 2013, and Dr. Paul Wiegert began the first of 2 presentations of his digital slide show “The Perseid Meteor Shower” at 8:30 p.m. He followed this with a short slide presentation, “The Russian Meteor of February” concerning the brilliant meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk on February 15, 2013.

Graduate student Dilini Subasinghe was in charge of the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome along with Matt Abado. Luis Victorero was crowd manager and counted visitors. RASC London Centre was represented by Dale Armstrong, Steve Gauthier, Peter Jedicke, Steve Imrie, and Bob Duff. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was also there listening to the slide presentation. Luis and Bob counted 56 people in the lecture room at 8:39 p.m. and more people kept arriving throughout the evening. By the end of the evening Peter Jedicke reported some 180 looking through the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome.

People viewed the communications tower in south London through the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain set up on the roof patio. The 25.4cm Dobsonian was also initially directed towards the weathervane on the Engineering building. As twilight gave way to a darkening sky Peter showed visitors the 4-day-old crescent Moon through the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome, using the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) and then Saturn, swapping in the Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X) that Bob handed him. As people filled the dome after Paul’s first slide lecture, Peter gave a telescope talk from the vantage point of the telescope observing ladder. The evening ended with people viewing the Ring Nebula (M57) through the 25.4cm refractor, using the 32mm Erfle eyepiece with the Orion Nebula filter, which enhanced contrast.

Through the RASC London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian telescope, Steve Gauthier showed visitors Saturn, using the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (89X); and Albireo, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X); and Bob showed them the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and M57. People also viewed globular cluster M13 in the Dobsonian. Through the 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain, Dale showed people Saturn, M13 and the Wild Duck Cluster (M11), using the 18mm Tele Vue Radian eyepiece (111X). The visitors were gone by around 11:30 p.m., after an exceptionally good evening of observing, and Cronyn was shut down by around 11:50 p.m.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre