Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Clear skies greeted visitors to the Cronyn Observatory Open House, Saturday, May 19th, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Neven Vulic made the digital slide presentation, “Exoplanets,” while faculty member Dr. Jan Cami operated the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome, assisted by graduate student Hoda Rashedi.

Jan directed the big 25.4cm refractor with the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X) towards the crescent Venus in the still bright twilight sky, offering early arriving visitors pleasing views. He later showed them Mars, Saturn and globular cluster M13.

RASC London Centre members Dale Armstrong and Bob Duff assisted with amateur telescopes, setting up the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Model 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain and plugging it into Bob’s 12-volt rechargeable battery. Bob later swapped in a Celestron 12-volt Power Supply provided by Jan Cami, originally intended for the Observatory’s 90mm Coronado Solar Telescope mount.

Dale took charge of the Schmidt-Cassegrain for the evening, showing visitors Saturn, Mars, M13, Albireo and Antares, using the 12.5mm Orthoscopic eyepiece (160X). Bob set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian and showed visitors Saturn with the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (67X) and later the 6mm Orthoscopic eyepiece (190.5X). He also showed them Mars and Epsilon Lyrae, using 190.5X. Mizar and Alcor were viewed using 67X but one visitor asked to view it at 190.5X to see the double star Mizar resolved more dramatically.

One lady visitor with 2 friends set up a newly acquired Celestron 90mm Maksutov spotting scope on a camera mount. Dale helped them locate Venus, which made a pleasing crescent in the 32mm Plossl eyepiece (37.5X). They were also thrilled with the view of the tiny ringed disc of Saturn.

It was a wonderful night for observing at the Cronyn and London Centre member Richard Gibbens also made an appearance on the roof patio. In all, it was estimated that there were about 60 visitors throughout the evening. The visitors left around 11:00 p.m. and the Observatory was finally closed down by 11:40 p.m.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre