Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Partly cloudy, later clearing skies greeted visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, August 30th, 2014, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Kendra Kellogg made her digital slide presentation “Our Connection to the Cosmos”.

RASC London Centre was represented by Bob Duff, Dale Armstrong, Mark Tovey and Everett Clark. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was also there and listened to the lecture. Bob had counted 28 visitors in the dome after 2 people had left, plus another visitor in the lecture room when he spoke with Kendra around 9:26 p.m., following her slide presentation. Kendra had counted some 25 visitors for the slide presentation, suggesting a total of perhaps 56 visitors (28 + 2 + 1 + 25 = 56). Since some people may have been counted both in the slide presentation and afterwards in the dome, and others may have skipped the slide presentation and gone directly upstairs into the dome, the estimated number of visitors may be around 50 people.

Graduate student Ethan Luo was telescope operator for the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. Bob assisted Ethan with making ready the 25.4cm refractor and graduate student Emily McCullough helped direct the big telescope towards Mars and Saturn, which made nice views for visitors through the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X). Towards the end of the evening Bob directed the 25.4cm refractor overhead towards the “Double-Double” star system Epsilon Lyrae, with the binary components nicely split for visitors through the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X).

Dale set up the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain on the east side of the roof patio to show visitors Mars in the southwest just above the Engineering building. Mars made a tiny disk through the 26mm Plossl eyepiece (77X) in the Schmidt-Cassegrain. Dale later swapped in the 12.5mm Ortho and 2X Barlow lens (320X) from the Coronado telescope to show people the double star Izar, and then the 15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece (133X) to show them M13 in the Schmidt-Cassegrain.

Mark showed visitors Vega and the orange and blue double star Albireo through the RASC London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). Bob helped Mark with locating Albireo in the 25.4cm Dobsonian and talked to visitors both in and outside the dome. The visitors were gone with the Observatory being closed down by 11:05 p.m. after an excellent evening of astronomy.