Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Undergraduate student Neil Bhatt made his digital slide presentation, “A Brief Overview of Mars,” beginning shortly after 8:30 p.m., with just 8 visitors, increasing to some 20 people by the end of the evening. Undergraduate student Roger Odell was in charge of the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and graduate student Maryam Tabeshian supervised the visitors.

A card and flyer were distributed advertising the Cronyn Observatory Open House, with live video from NASA of the Mars Curiosity Rover landing, Sunday, August 5th / 6th, 10:00 p.m.—2:00 a.m.

RASC London Centre was well represented by 6 members, including Dale Armstrong, Keith Burr, Everett Clark, Bob Duff, Richard Gibbens and Peter Jedicke. Bob assisted Roger with making ready the big 25.4cm refractor with the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X). Keith and Dale set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian and the Observatory’s Meade 8-inch (203mm) LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain on the roof patio.

Since the sky was cloudy Peter gave a telescope talk on the roof patio, explaining the Newtonian (Dobsonian) and Schmidt-Cassegrain designs. Bringing the group inside Peter spoke about Hume Cronyn and how his estate funded the building of the Cronyn Observatory. He also explained the difference between the big refractor in the dome and the reflector and Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes on the roof patio. Bob explained to a few visitors the two clocks on the wall and Standard and Sidereal time.

People had the opportunity to view the lights on the distant communications tower in south London through the big 25.4cm refractor and Dale showed a few visitors the star Vega overhead through the Schmidt-Cassegrain, through a thin layer of hazy clouds. Lightning flashed in the west and the telescopes were put away and the dome closed. Neil made a second presentation to a few remaining visitors about the Mars Curiosity Rover, scheduled to land on Mars, August 6th. The Observatory was closed by 10:45 p.m.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre