Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Cloudy skies and cold temperatures greeted 9 visitors to the Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, February 14th, 2015, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Tony Martinez made the digital slide presentation "Our Active Sun".

RASC London Centre was represented by Tricia Colvin and Mark Tovey, later joined by Peter Jedicke. Wind and blowing snow ruled out opening the dome. Tricia and Mark set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) inside the dome for display since there was too much blowing snow for observing outside.

One of the visitors and her child came upstairs into the dome early in the evening, while Tony was still giving his slide presentation downstairs in the lecture room. Tricia and Mark gave a joint talk to them with Tricia speaking primarily to the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor and Mark to the history of the Cronyn Observatory. When everybody else arrived upstairs in the dome graduate student Shannon Hicks gave a brief talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor.

The sky cleared somewhat towards the end of the evening. Although it was still too snowy to support using a telescope on the deck, graduate student Emily McCullough showed visitors Jupiter on the deck using the Observatory’s 10 X 50mm binoculars. Tony Martinez recalled that Mark, Tricia, Emily and Shannon along with 3 of the visitors observed Jupiter through the binoculars. Mark showed them how to steady the binoculars on their forearms but it was difficult to keep the image of Jupiter steady. Tony looked for Jupiter’s Galilean moons but did not see them. Tony thought this was primarily due to the diffuse clouds and backscattering of blowing snow, which contributed to the bright sky. The visitors were gone by 8:45 p.m. It was an enjoyable and informative evening of astronomy for the visitors, despite the clouds and cold weather.