Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Cloudy skies and, later, rain, greeted 10 visitors (8 adults and 2 children) to the Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, May 11th, 2013, 8:30—11:00 p.m. Graduate student Jessie Silaj made her digital slide presentation, “The Moons of Jupiter,” twice during the course of the evening, to groups of visitors.

Postdoctoral Fellow Teznie Pugh took charge of the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and graduate student Richard Cyr supervised and counted visitors. Dale Armstrong and Bob Duff represented the RASC London Centre.

Dale had taken home and repaired the finderscope diagonal from the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain after the previous Cronyn Open House on Saturday, May 4th. He now reinstalled the diagonal on the Schmidt-Cassegrain’s 8 X 50mm finderscope. Epoxy glue had not worked in sealing the cracked diagonal housing and Dale had settled for using an 8-32 machine screw and wing nut to hold the housing together. He discarded the apparently dead L44 batteries found in the reticle illuminator and suggested it simply be stored, as it was not needed in London’s brightly lit sky. He placed aluminum duct tape part way around the eyepiece barrel to cover the hole for the reticle illuminator. He also supplied a small Allen key to tighten the eyepiece in the diagonal.

Dale suggested storing the Schmidt-Cassegrain by simply setting it on its drive base on the storeroom table rather than in the trunk, to protect the finderscope from misalignment or damage. The eyepieces and telescope’s accessories were stored in the carrying case, which was placed on end against the wall on the table in the storeroom. The Schmidt-Cassegrain was placed on the table in the dome for display to visitors during the evening.

Bob set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian on the roof patio with the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X) and showed 2 children and 2 adults the weathervane on the roof of the Engineering building. Dale later brought the Dobsonian inside to protect it from a heavy downpour of rain. Dale and Bob gave 2 of the adult visitors a tour of the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and explained the standard and sidereal time clocks on the wall. Dale also showed them the 1950 sky atlas on the display table. The visitors were gone by 10:15 p.m. after an enjoyable and informative evening of astronomy.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre