Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, August 17th, 2013

Clear skies greeted visitors to the Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, August 17th, 2013, on Western University’s campus. Physics and Astronomy Department Chair Dr. Shantanu Basu began the first of 3 presentations of his digital slide show on the “Formation of the Solar System” at 8:30 p.m. He also mentioned the newly discovered Nova in the constellation Delphinus, later to be located in telescopes by RASC London Centre members. Graduate student Ethan Luo was crowd manager and counted 47 visitors in the lecture room around 8:40 p.m. after Dr. Shantanu Basu began his first slide presentation. People kept arriving and by the end of the evening Ethan had counted 157 visitors.

Graduate student Parshati Patel was in charge of the big 25.4cm refractor. RASC London Centre was represented by Dale Armstrong, Everett Clark, Bob Duff, Steve Imrie, Steve Gauthier and Peter Jedicke. London Centre member Richard Gibbens listened to the slide presentation. Everett soon had the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome directed at the 3-day-past-First Quarter gibbous Moon with the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) installed. The London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, with the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X); and the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain, with the 20mm Plossl eyepiece (100X); were also directed at the Moon. Peter stationed himself at the top of the observing ladder for the course of the evening and showed people the Moon through the big 25.4cm refractor using the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) with the 2-inch Baader Neutral Density filter (which Bob handed him) to reduce brightness and provide more comfortable viewing.

On the roof patio Dale showed people the Moon through the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain, using the 20mm Plossl eyepiece (100X). He tested the 1.25-inch Baader Neutral Density filter, which Bob handed him and it reduced brightness, although it was not really needed. Dale later directed the Schmidt-Cassegrain towards the newly discovered Nova in Delphinus. Steve Gauthier showed people Saturn through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, swapping out the 17mm Nagler (66X) and using the 12.5mm Ortho (89X) eyepiece, until it went behind the building. When Saturn disappeared behind the building, Steve directed the telescope towards the Moon. He later swapped in the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X) and showed people the Nova in Delphinus.

Steve Imrie set up his Orion SkyQuest 8-inch (20.3cm) Dobsonian on the sidewalk near the southeast corner of the Cronyn Observatory and showed people Saturn from 9:00—10:00 p.m. until it disappeared behind the building. He then showed people the Moon through his telescope until 11:00 p.m. Steve used a 25mm eyepiece and 2X Barlow lens combination (96X) and a 9mm eyepiece (133X) for viewing both Saturn and the Moon.

Everett assisted a family of 3 adults and 2 children who had brought their 75mm alt-azimuth reflector, setting it up on the roof patio, and for a while Bob showed visitors the Moon through this telescope as the family looked through other telescopes.

People watched an ISS pass, which swept from northwest to east-northeast, 9:49 —9:53 p.m., reaching an altitude of 26 degrees in the north-northeast. Most everybody was gone by 11:20 p.m. and the Observatory was closed down shortly thereafter. It was a very successful evening of astronomy outreach.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre