Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Clear skies with some hazy clouds greeted visitors to the Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, August 31st, 2013, on Western University’s campus. Dr. Sarah Gallagher made 2 presentations of her digital slide presentation “Gasbags & Blowhards: Black Holes in the Universe” and got half-way through a third presentation before the Observatory closed down at 11:00 p.m. Graduate student Cameron Mackie was crowd manager and counted 62 visitors arriving by 10:35 p.m.

Graduate student Matt Abado was in charge of the big 25.4cm refractor. RASC London Centre was represented by Dale Armstrong, Steve Gauthier, Dave McCarter, Peter Jedicke, Bob Duff, and Everett Clark (who arrived later around 10:30 p.m.). London Centre member Richard Gibbens listened to the slide presentation.

Dave and Peter assisted Matt with the big 25.4cm refractor and it was soon directed towards Saturn, which made a pleasing image in Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle (157X) eyepiece. Saturn eventually disappeared below the Engineering building and Peter redirected the big 25.4cm refractor towards the Ring Nebula (M57) overhead. The 32mm Erfle (137X) seemed to make a better view of M57 than the Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle (157X).

On the roof patio outside the dome Steve Gauthier showed visitors the yellow and blue double star Albireo, the Nova in the constellation Delphinus, and the globular clusters M71 and M13, through the RASC London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler (66X) and 12.5mm (89X) Ortho eyepieces. Dale showed them the double star Izar, M13, the Dumbbell Nebula (M27), Albireo, M11, the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and globular cluster M15 in the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain.

The Observatory was closed down around 11:00 p.m. after a very successful evening of astronomy under clear skies.

Bob Duff