Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 20th, 2016

Cloudy skies with some rain showers greeted 53 visitors to the Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, August 20th, 2016, 8:30 p.m. Postdoctoral fellow Dr. Mattia Galiazzo made 2 presentations of his digital slide presentation “Cosmic Smashing Pumpkins in the Solar System” and fielded questions. Professor Jan Cami counted 40 people for the first slide presentation and 13 for the second for a total of 53 visitors.

RASC London Centre was represented by Bob Duff, Heather MacIsaac, Dale Armstrong, Peter Jedicke, Steve Gauthier, Tricia Colvin and Mark Tovey. Graduate student Jeff VanKerkhove was telescope operator in the dome and staff member Henry Leparskas was also there. Rain showers and possible thunderstorms ruled out opening the dome and Jeff talked to the visitors. Dale explained a little about the observatory’s big 25.4cm refractor. Bob set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) and Heather her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov (32mm Plossl eyepiece, 39X) inside the dome, so as to show visitors the lights on the communications tower in south London through the door. Bob spoke to one couple who inquired about the “Atlas Borealis 1950.0” (author: Antonin Becvar) on the map display table, giving them a “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015]) pamphlet and a “Star Finder” planisphere after explaining its use and assembling it with adhesive tape.

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. Professor Jan Cami also talked to some visitors in the “Period Room.”

The visitors were gone by around 10:45 p.m. and the observatory was closed down after an interesting evening learning about astronomy and telescopes.