Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Cloudy skies and rain greeted visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, August 16th, 2014, 8:30 p.m. Postdoctoral fellow David Stock made his digital slide presentation “Telescopes in Space” and fielded questions. Graduate student Matt Shannon was crowd manager. There were 27 visitors for the slide lecture, counted around 8:52 p.m., with 4 more arrivals around 10:27 p.m., for a total of 31 visitors for the evening.

Graduate student Laura Lenkic was telescope operator for the big 25.4cm refractor; however, rain ruled out opening the dome. RASC London Centre was represented by Mark Tovey, Bob Duff, Dale Armstrong, Peter Jedicke and Everett Clark. Since it was raining outside, Mark and Dale set up the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain inside the dome. Bob also set up the London Centre’s Dobsonian inside the dome.

When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk about the history and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor and explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall. Dale described how the Schmidt-Cassegrain worked and was followed by Mark who explained the 25.4cm Dobsonian. People were invited to view the communications tower in south London through the Schmidt-Cassegrain and the 25.4cm Dobsonian directed out the door to the roof patio. Since it had stopped raining the 25.4cm Dobsonian was taken outside. Bob showed a few visitors Arcturus and Vega through the 25.4cm Dobsonian using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X).

Cloudy skies completely obscured the ISS Pass (listed on the “Heavens Above, ISS – Visible Passes” Web site) travelling from northwest to east-northeast, around 9:55—10:00 p.m., reaching a maximum 31 degrees altitude (~9:58 p.m.). Also not observed was an Iridium flare (9:31:50 p.m., altitude 63 degrees) in the west (listed on the "Heavens Above, Iridium Flares" Web site). The visitors were gone by around 11:00 p.m. after a very informative and enjoyable evening of astronomy despite the cloudy skies.