Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Mostly cloudy skies greeted visitors to the Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, July 20th, 2013, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Sahar Rahmani made 3 presentations of her digital slide show “How and Where are Stars Born? (Star Formation)” during the course of the evening. Physics and Astronomy Department computer resource person Henry Leparskas was there with a tripod mounted video camera, to interview people. Graduate student Hoori Ghashooni supervised and kept count of visitors. There were 54 people at 8:50 p.m. and the final count at 10:35 p.m. was 105 visitors.

Graduate students Maryam Tabeshian was in charge of the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. RASC London Centre was represented by Dale Armstrong, Everett Clark, Steve Gauthier, Steve Imrie, Peter Jedicke and Bob Duff. Everett and Bob set up the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain. Peter, Everett and Bob then helped Maryam flip the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome so that the counterweights were on the left side when the telescope was directed at the 2-day-prior-to full Moon rising in the southeast. Maryam showed a few visitors the Moon, which was a pleasing site in the 25.4cm refractor, with the 32mm Erfle (137X) eyepiece, before being obscured by clouds around 9:00 p.m. The 25.4cm refractor was then directed towards the communications tower.

Peter gave a talk in the dome about the history and technical aspects of the Cronyn Observatory telescope. Steve Gauthier showed people the Moon and then the weathervane on the Engineering building in the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). Dale showed them the Moon in the Schmidt-Cassegrain (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X) and then the communications tower. The sky partly cleared around 11:00 p.m. making possible pleasing views of Saturn and the Moon in the big 25.4cm refractor and the Dobsonian. However, by this time the visitors were gone!

There were 3 “Star Finder” planispheres and 4 “Moon Gazers’ Guides” given to interested visitors. The Observatory was closed down around 11:20 p.m., after an enjoyable evening of astronomy despite the clouds.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre