Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Mostly cloudy skies greeted visitors to the Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, June 23rd, beginning 8:30 p.m. Professor Shantanu Basu made his digital slide presentation on, “Galaxies,” before some 44 visitors, which soon increased to 61, with some people going directly upstairs to the dome and roof patio. RASC London Centre members Peter Jedicke, Steve Gauthier, Dale Armstrong, and Bob Duff assisted in the dome, while Richard Gibbens listened to Dr. Basu’s slide presentation downstairs in the lecture room.

Peter gave a talk about the big refractor in the dome to a growing group of listeners, while Dale and Bob set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian and the Observatory’s Meade 8-inch (203mm) LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain on the roof patio. Steve worked on the computer in the dome, confirming an upcoming ISS pass at 9:56 p.m.

Graduate student Jeff Bailey directed the big 25.4cm refractor towards the 4-days old crescent Moon as soon as clouds cleared in the western sky, while undergraduate student Viatrix Lee supervised visitors. The 25.4cm refractor with the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) gave pleasing views of the Moon, Saturn and Mars to visitors throughout the evening.

Dale took charge of the Schmidt-Cassegrain, using the 12.5mm Orthoscopic eyepiece (160X) to show visitors Mars, Saturn and the double star Izar (Epsilon Bootes). He used the 18mm Tele Vue Radian eyepiece (111X) to show them the globular cluster M3 and the open cluster M11.

Bob showed visitors Mars, Saturn, Arcturus, Mizar and Alcor, the globular cluster M13 and Antares in the 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler (67X) and 6mm Orthoscopic (190.5X) eyepieces. The sky had cleared beautifully to just a few hazy clouds and everybody was able to watch ISS pass at 9:56 p.m., which went directly overhead, travelling form northwest to southeast.

Most of the visitors were gone by 11:00 p.m. and the Observatory was closed down around 11:15 p.m. after a very successful evening of public outreach.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre