Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 1st, 2015

Partly cloudy, later clearing skies greeted some 76 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 1st, 2015, 8:30 p.m. Undergraduate student Ian Mulholland made 2 presentations of his digital slide presentation “A Walk Through the Solar System”. RASC London Centre member Peter Jedicke counted 27 people in Ian’s first slide presentation and Ian counted 34 in his second presentation, with 15 walk-ins afterwards, for an estimated total of 76 visitors.

Professor Peter Brown was telescope operator for the big 25.4cm refractor and was assisted by graduate student and RASC London Centre member Emily McCullough. Other RASC London members included Bob Duff, Dale Armstrong, Tricia Colvin, Mark Tovey, Paul and Charlene Kerans and Peter Jedicke. London Centre member Roman Dubinski also showed up on the roof patio outside the dome. Physics and Astronomy Department computer resources person and RASC member Henry Leparskas was also there. 

When visitors arrived upstairs after Ian’s first slide presentation, Bob gave a brief talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor, also explaining the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall of the dome. 

Peter Brown, Emily and Bob took turns showing visitors Saturn through the big 25.4cm refractor, which made a splendid sight in the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X). They gave out to visitors Saturn cards, of which there were many left over from the International Year of Astronomy 2009, and Peter Jedicke also encouraged them to take the pamphlet “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015]). Peter Brown called everybody’s attention to the bright ISS pass travelling southwest to east-northeast (10:09—10:15 p.m.) and passing overhead at 89 degrees altitude.

Dale operated the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain, showing visitors Saturn (15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece and 2X Barlow lens, 266X) and the one-day-past-full Moon (26mm Plossl eyepiece, 77X). (The 2X Barlow lens was from the 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope.) Mark showed them Saturn in the Observatory’s unpowered 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, using the Tele Vue 26mm Plossl (77X) and 12.5mm Ortho (160X) eyepieces. Tricia operated the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) showing people Saturn and Albireo. Bob later directed the 25.4cm Dobsonian towards M57 and Peter Jedicke located M13, both splendid views in the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X).

Heather MacIsaac has been bringing her telescope to the Cronyn Observatory and recently joined the RASC as an unattached member. She set up her Go-To Celestron 90mm Maksutov telescope on the roof patio and showed visitors Saturn, Arcturus and Albireo (25mm Plossl eyepiece, 50X), and with Dale’s assistance, located M13, which was viewed with 32mm (39X) and 25mm (50X) Plossl eyepieces. 

The Observatory was closed down around 12 midnight after a very interesting evening of slide presentations and excellent viewing through telescopes under very clear skies.