Partly cloudy skies greeted an estimated 28 visitors to the Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, February 8th, 2014, 7:00 p.m. There were just 14 people (including one small child) when graduate student Parshati Patel began the digital slide presentation “The Life and Times of Stars” around 7:05 p.m. There was a brief intermission around 7:20 p.m. when graduate student Dilini Subasinghe invited everybody upstairs into the dome to view the Moon before it was completely obscured by clouds.
More people arrived and some 21 visitors gathered in the dome to view the 2-day-past-first quarter Moon in the 25.4cm refractor (28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X). When clouds temporarily obscured the Moon RASC London Centre member Bob Duff gave a brief talk on the history and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. When the clouds thinned and observing the Moon resumed in the big refractor, Bob showed them Jupiter through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X), set up on the roof patio outside the dome. Bob also showed them views of the Moon in the Dobsonian. The views of Jupiter and the Moon brightened and dimmed with the moving cloud cover.
London Centre member Peter Jedicke also showed up in the dome and remained for a while, listening to Parshati’s slide presentation, when it resumed after the sky clouded over and people went back downstairs. Everybody was gone by 8:30 p.m. after an enjoyable evening of astronomy. In all, there were an estimated 28 visitors including those who attended the lecture, simply showed up in the dome, came and went or arrived later.