Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Graduate student Tyler Desjardins made his digital slide presentation, “Cosmic Train Wrecks: When Galaxies Collide,” twice before a total of 35 visitors at the Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, December 8th, beginning 7:00 p.m. RASC London Centre members Rick Saunders, Peter Jedicke and Dave McCarter assisted in the dome.

Peter reported that Rick set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian on the Observatory’s roof patio and that the dome was opened for observing with the venerable 25.4cm refractor. They were pleased that the skies cleared for a couple of hours making possible very crisp views of Jupiter through the Dobsonian. The outside temperature was about –2 degrees Celsius and dome currents made seeing through the big 25.4cm refractor rather troublesome. Jupiter’s 4 Galilean moons were on display, neatly arranged across the field of view. (The Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece was used in the 25.4cm refractor for a magnification of 157X.) Dave took the time to ensure that every visitor really concentrated on the view through the refractor. Peter greeted visitors as they arrived upstairs in the dome and answered their questions while they waited. Many were families motivated to come to the Open House because one or more youngsters were so keen on astronomy.

Rick reported having 21 separate people look through the 25.4cm Dobsonian, with some returning more than once to view Jupiter. Rick dropped off 2 bundles of “Star Finder” planispheres and 2 bundles of “Moon Gazers’ Guides” (2 X 100 = 200 of each item) for use by the graduate students for Exploring the Stars. Rick had to leave around 8:20 p.m.

Peter and Dave remained with the big 25.4cm refractor on Jupiter throughout the evening, although moving to the Pleiades and Double Cluster was discussed. Clouds returned and made it difficult to continue with the last new visitors arriving around 8:45 p.m. The Observatory was closed around 9:30 p.m.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre