Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Clear skies greeted some 70 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 15th, 2015, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Abedin Abedin made 2 presentations of his digital slide presentation “Near Earth Objects and Potentially Hazardous Asteroids”. RASC London Centre member Bob Duff counted 14 people in the dome and 23 in the slide presentation for a total of 37 visitors at 8:45 p.m. There were 66 people counted both upstairs in the dome and in the lecture room at 9:14 p.m. There were 10 people at 10:00 p.m. for the second slide presentation and an estimated total of some 70 visitors for the evening.

Graduate student Matthew Shannon was telescope operator for the evening and was assisted by graduate student and RASC London Centre member Emily McCullough. They directed the big 25.4cm refractor towards Saturn, which made a splendid view for visitors in the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X). Other RASC London members present included Paul and Charlene Kerans, Bob Duff, Peter Jedicke, Tricia Colvin and Mark Tovey. London Centre member Richard Gibbens listened to the slide lecture. 

On the roof patio outside the dome, Paul and Charlene set up their new Celestron 9.25-inch (235mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain on a Sky-Watcher EQ6 Equatorial mount and spent the evening showing people Saturn, Arcturus, Mizar and Alcor and the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), using Paul’s Tele Vue 21mm Ethos eyepiece (112X), with its 100 degree apparent field of view. Paul was also showing visitors some tiny samples of Moon and Mars rocks in a couple of small display cases. Peter operated the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X), showing visitors Saturn, M31, M32 and M110, and was later joined by Bob who showed a few visitors Albireo. 

Heather MacIsaac, who has been bringing her telescope to the Cronyn Observatory and recently joined the RASC as an unattached member, set up her Go-To Celestron 90mm Maksutov telescope (25mm Plossl eyepiece, 50X) and showed people Saturn, Albireo, and Mizar and Alcor.

Peter called everybody’s attention to two ISS passes that took place that evening. The first ISS pass was travelling northwest—east, 21:02:18—21:08:04, reaching a maximum altitude at 28 degrees at 21:05:11 (9:05 p.m.). The second ISS pass was travelling west-northwest—west, 22:38:34—22:41:12, reaching a maximum altitude at 46 degrees at 22:41:12 (10:41 p.m.). The Observatory was closed down around 11:15 p.m. after a very successful evening of slide presentations and viewing through telescopes under very clear skies.