Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Cloudy skies with occasional rain showers made for an unpromising evening for the Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, August 11th, 8:30 p.m. RASC London Centre members Dale Armstrong and Bob Duff were there and graduate student Alexander DeSouza invited Bob to say a few words about the RASC London Centre, before launching into his digital slide presentation, “Red Planet,” which gave an overview of Mars exploration from Percival Lowell through various spacecraft missions to the just completed NASA Mars Curiosity Rover landing on August 6th.

There were just 14 visitors at the beginning of Alexander’s presentation and 31 people by the time he finished. RASC London Centre member Richard Gibbens arrived during Alexander’s presentation. Most everybody went upstairs for a tour of the dome except for about 6 people who chose to remain in the lecture room for more discussion. Graduate student Mitchell Croley assisted. Undergraduate student Neil Bhatt gave a telescope talk about the big 25.4cm refractor. Neil had placed the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) in the big refractor but the dome remained closed because of the risk of rain.

At Neil’s invitation, Bob said a few words about the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, explaining the difference between a reflector and refractor telescope. Bob also spoke about the history of the Cronyn Observatory and some features of the 25.4cm refractor. Dale also gave a talk about astronomy and observing, recommending Terence Dickinson’s book, “NightWatch.” Bob showed them his copy of “SkyNews” (July / August 2012) magazine.

Most visitors were gone by around 10:10 p.m. and the Observatory was closed down shortly thereafter. It was an enjoyable evening of astronomy discussion despite the cloudy, rainy weather.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre