Cloudy skies with occasional snow flurries greeted visitors to the Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, December 14th, 2013, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Dilini Subasinghe began her digital slide presentation, “Smaller Bits of the Solar System,” before 6 visitors, including one small child. More people arrived, increasing the total to 10 visitors by the end of the evening, not including 3 people (2 adults and one child) who briefly looked in on the slide presentation later in the evening but did not stay.
After Dilini had finished her presentation, graduate student Tony Martinez brought everybody upstairs for a tour of the dome, explaining the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. He also explained the 2 clocks on the east wall and the difference between standard and sidereal time. Tony introduced RASC London Centre Bob Duff, who talked about the history of the Cronyn Observatory as well as some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Snow flurries ruled out opening the dome.
Tony then invited everybody back downstairs for his slide presentation, “The Star of Bethlehem: An Astronomer’s Journey.” Some discussion followed and Tony invited 2 late arrivals upstairs for a second tour of the dome. Tony explained the big 25.4cm refractor and, in answer to one question about the telescope’s magnification, Bob showed them some eyepieces and explained how magnification was calculated and the maximum magnification you could expect from the telescope. Everybody was gone by 9:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy, despite the cloudy skies and snow flurries.