Cloudy skies and damp weather greeted some 35 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Monday, November 13th, 2017, 7:00 p.m. Since it was a weekday public night, there was no slide presentation and visitors simply circulated into the lecture room, downstairs into the “Black Room” and “1940s Period Room,” and upstairs into the dome. They were welcomed by Professor Jan Cami, graduate students Amanda DeSouza and Richard Bloch; and RASC London Centre members Everett Clark, Peter Jedicke and Bob Duff.
Peter gave an informal talk to 6 visitors in the lecture room and answered questions, counting visitors as they arrived throughout the evening. He later went upstairs into the dome and out on to the observation deck. Since cloudy damp weather ruled out opening the dome, Everett set up the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X) inside the dome so as to view the TV screen in the Western Sports & Recreation Center windows, through the door to the observation deck.
Downstairs in the “Black Room” Amanda and Richard gave demonstrations of the “Transit Demo” model—showing how the transit detection method worked for finding extra-solar planets, as well as demonstrations of the “Spectroscopy Demo” with the visitors putting on diffraction grating glasses to view the spectra of 4 gas discharge lamps set out on the table, including: hydrogen, helium, neon and mercury. Amanda also showed visitors the historic “1940s Period Room,” a recreation of Dr. H. R. Kingston’s 1940 office designed by RASC London Centre member Mark Tovey.
Bob talked to visitors in the dome, showed one lady the “1940s Period Room,” and answered questions. The visitors were gone and the observatory was closed down around 9:30 p.m. after an interesting evening learning about astronomy and telescopes, despite the cloudy weather.