Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 13th, 2016

as Reported by Everett Clark

Cloudy skies with some clearing, later clouding over again, greeted 35 visitors to the Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, August 13th, 2016, 8:30 p.m. Professor Robert Cockcroft made 2 presentations of his digital slide presentation “New Horizons: A New look at Pluto” and fielded questions. RASC London member Everett Clark reported that there were 32 visitors for the first slide presentation (including 3 people from Rogers Cable TV) and 3 people for the second slide presentation for a total of 35 visitors for the evening.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Heather MacIsaac, Dale Armstrong, Peter Jedicke, Tricia Colvin and Mark Tovey. Cronyn Observatory Director Professor Jan Cami gave tours of the observatory. Graduate student Kendra Kellogg was telescope operator for the evening and directed the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) in the dome towards the 3-day-past-first-quarter waxing gibbous Moon.

On the roof patio outside the dome, Dale Armstrong operated the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, showing visitors Arcturus, using the 15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece (133X), and then doubling the magnification with the addition of the CEMAX 2X Barlow lens—from the observatory’s 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope—for views of Mars and Saturn at 266X. Dale also showed people the Canadian flag on top of University College to the northeast and the communications tower in south London through the 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, using the 26mm Plossl eyepiece (77X).

Everett Clark set up the London Centre’s Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) and with Heather MacIsaac showed visitors the Moon, Mars and the wind turbine on the Engineering building. Heather MacIsaac also showed visitors the Moon through her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov, using her 32mm Plossl eyepiece (39X).

Downstairs in the “Black Room” Tricia Colvin operated the “Transit Demo” model—demonstrating the transit detection method for finding extra-solar planets. Mark Tovey gave tours of the historic “Period Room,” which featured the “Sotellunium” mechanical eclipse demonstration model and Dr. H. R. Kingston’s brass refractor telescope.

The visitors were gone by around 10:50 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.