Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

Mostly clear skies greeted some 69 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 22nd, 2015, 8:30 p.m. Undergraduate student Ian Mulholland made 2 presentations of his digital slide presentation “Light; Beyond What the Eye Can See”. RASC London Centre member Bob Duff counted 18 visitors in the dome and 27 in the lecture room for Ian’s first slide presentation for a total of 45 visitors by 8: 48 p.m. More visitors arrived and Bob counted some 57 people in the dome and roof patio around 9:22 pm. Physics and Astronomy Department Computer Resources person and RASC member Henry Leparskas reported counting an estimated 74—76 people around 9:40 p.m., which was close to Bob’s estimated total of some 69 visitors (adults and children) for the evening.

Graduate student Shannon Hicks was telescope operator for the evening with some assistance from graduate student and RASC London Centre member Emily McCullough. Shannon supervised visitors as they climbed the observing ladder to view Saturn through the big 25.4cm refractor (28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X). RASC London members present included Paul Kerans, Tricia Colvin, Mark Tovey, Bob Duff, Dale Armstrong, Peter Jedicke, Steve Imrie and graduate student Emily McCullough. London Centre member Richard Gibbens listened to the slide lecture and later came upstairs onto the roof patio outside the dome.

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 first quarter Moon (26mm Plossl eyepiece, 77X). (The 2X Barlow lens was from the 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope.) He then swapped in the 15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece (133X) to show people the orange and blue double-star Albireo and the “Wild Duck” cluster M11. Tricia and Mark showed visitors the Moon, Albireo and Saturn in the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). Bob briefly swapped in the 6mm Ortho eyepiece (186X) in the 25.4cm Dobsonian for a few people to view Saturn before reinstalling the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). Steve showed a few people Vega in the 25.4cm Dobsonian (66X).

Paul Kerans set up his Celestron 9.25-inch (235mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain on a Sky-Watcher EQ6 Equatorial mount (Tele Vue 21mm Ethos eyepiece, 112X), using Arcturus as a guide star for polar alignment, and showing people the Moon, Saturn, M31 and M13. He showed people the Moon through his Tele Vue 13mm Ethos eyepiece (181X) as well as the 21mm Ethos eyepiece (112X) in the 9.25-inch (235mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain. Paul also brought 2 meteorites, an iron and a stony iron, to show visitors. 

RASC London Centre member Peter Jedicke gave a talk in the dome about the Cronyn Observatory later in the evening as people line up to view through the big 25.4cm refractor. The Observatory was closed down around 11:10 p.m. after a very successful evening of slide presentations and viewing through telescopes under very clear skies.