Clear skies and cold temperature greeted 36 visitors to the Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, December 6th, 2014, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Tony Martinez made his digital slide presentation “Calendars and the Measurement of Time” and answered questions. Graduate students Parshati Patel and Jeff Vankerkhove operated the big refractor in the dome.
RASC London Centre was represented by Dale Armstrong, Tricia Colvin, Mark Tovey, Bob Duff, Peter Jedicke and Everett Clark, later joined by Dave McCarter. Since the full Moon was very bright in the big 25.4cm refractor, Bob assisted as Jeff installed the 1.25-inch Baader Neutral Density filter on the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X). People later also viewed the Moon in the 25.4cm refractor through the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) with the 2-inch Baader Neutral Density filter.
On the roof patio outside the dome Dale operated the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain, showing people Mars, using the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (160X), and then swapping in the 15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece (133X) to show them the double stars Almach (Gamma Andromedae), the Trapezium stars in M42, the Double Cluster in Perseus, the Pleiades (M45) and the star Rigel.
Tricia and Mark operated the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) and showed visitors the yellow and blue double star Albireo. They were joined by Bob who redirected the 25.4cm Dobsonian and showed the visitors the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and its companion galaxy, M32, to the left of M31 in the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X) field of view. Dave arrived later and took over the 25.4cm Dobsonian, showing visitors the star Mirfak (Alpha Persei) and the Double Cluster in Perseus. The visitors were gone by around 9:30 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy under clear cold skies.