Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Clear skies greeted some 100 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, August 5th, 2017, 8:30 p.m. Professor Sarah Gallagher made 2 presentations of her digital slide presentation Tight Families: Compact Galaxy Groups and fielded questions. Graduate student Pranav Manangath was the “crowd manager” for the evening.

Downstairs in the “Black Room” graduate student Taranpreet Kaur gave demonstrations of the “Transit Demo” model—showing how the transit detection method worked for finding extra-solar planets, as well as demonstrations of the “Spectroscopy Demo” with the visitors putting on diffraction grating glasses to view the spectra of 4 gas discharge lamps set out on the table, including: hydrogen, helium, neon and mercury. RASC London Centre members Peter Jedicke, and later Mark Tovey, gave tours of the historic “1940s Period Room,” a recreation of Dr. H. R. Kingston’s 1940 office and the “1967 Period Room” recreating the early control room of the Elginfield Observatory to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation—Canada 150. Both “Period Rooms” were designed by Mark Tovey.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Heather MacIsaac, Steve Imrie, Peter Jedicke, Steve Gauthier, Norm McCall, Mark Tovey and a new youth member, Jacob Renders. Heather MacIsaac set up her Celestron NexStar 90SLT 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain and then made ready the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. Heather operated the 25.4cm refractor for the evening, showing visitors the 6-day-past-first quarter nearly full Moon, Jupiter and Saturn, using the Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X). Norm McCall operated Heather’s 90mm Maksutov (32mm Plossl eyepiece, 39X), showing visitors the Moon.

Steve Gauthier operated the observatory’s Meade 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain, using his 9mm Nagler eyepiece (222X) to show visitors Saturn. Steve Imrie operated the London Centre’s home-built 30.5cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 88X), showing visitors Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon—using Norm McCall’s donated 2-inch Zhumell Variable Polarizing Filter to reduce the Moon’s brightness to comfortable levels. New youth member Jacob Renders and his father set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (18mm Radian eyepiece, 62X) on the sidewalk on the east side of the observatory to show people the Moon.

Everett Clark assisted wherever he was needed. The observatory was closed down around 10:50 p.m. after and excellent evening of astronomy under clear skies.