Clear skies greeted some 30 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Monday, February 13th, 2017, 7:00 p.m. Since there was no slide presentation, visitors simply went upstairs into the dome where they were greeted by graduate students Robin Arnason and Kendra Kellogg and RASC London Centre members Everett Clark, Paul Kerans and Bob Duff.
Robin, Kendra and Everett operated the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. Kendra located and showed visitors the planet Venus in the 25.4cm refractor (28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X) and Mars was observed later. The London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, along with the home-built 30.5cm (f/5) Dobsonian donated by Matt Neima to the RASC London Centre for use at the Cronyn Observatory, were both set up on the roof patio outside the dome.
Robin showed visitors the Orion Nebula (M42) through the 25.4cm Dobsonian, with the observatory’s 2-inch Orion UltraBlock Narrowband Filter installed on the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). Paul showed visitors M42, Betelgeuse and the Pleiades (M45), and Kendra showed them the Owl Cluster (NGC457) through the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X).
Robin also operated the 30.5cm Dobsonian (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 75X), showing visitors Mars, M42, and the Pleiades (M45). Bob installed the observatory’s 12.5mm Ortho together with the Meade 2X Barlow lens so that visitors could view Mars at 240X through the 30.5cm Dobsonian. Mars was to the upper left of Venus in the western sky and showed only a tiny disk in the telescopes, being very far away. Robin and Kendra took turns operating the 30.5cm Dobsonian. Bob later showed visitors the double-star Castor in Gemini through the 30.5cm Dobsonian (12.5mm Ortho eyepiece, 120X).
Everett called people’s attention to an ISS pass travelling from west to west-southwest, 8:06—8:08 p.m., reaching and altitude of 23 degrees before disappearing into the Earth’s shadow. Paul showed the visitors his chondrite (stony) and iron meteorites as well as his Moon and Mars meteorite samples in small plastic display cases. Paul had placed his lunar meteorite sample display case in a wooden block with a transparent Lexan polycarbonate sheet cover and invited 2 children to “walk on the Moon.” There were 2 “Star Finder” planispheres distributed to visitors. The visitors were gone by around 9:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy under clear skies.