Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, January 9th, 2016

Cloudy skies and damp weather greeted 57 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, January 9th, 2016, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Shannon Hicks presented her 45 minute digital slide presentation “Europa: The Next Frontier” before a standing-room only crowd and fielded questions. She made a shorter 20 minute version of her presentation again later in the evening on the laptop computer for a small late arriving group of visitors.

RASC London Centre members present included Mark Tovey, Tricia Colvin, Everett Clark, Paul Kerans, Peter Jedicke, Steve Gauthier and Bob Duff. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was also there and listened to the slide lecture. Peter Jedicke was accompanied by David Levy, who left earlier in the evening. 

Graduate student Dilini Subasinghe was telescope operator with Everett and Steve taking over later in the evening. Since it was cloudy they showed visitors the lights on the communications tower in south London through the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 52mm Erfle (84X) eyepiece. On the roof patio outside the dome Steve and Everett also set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) to show visitors the wind turbine on the Engineering building. Paul set up his Celestron SkyMaster 15 X 70mm binoculars on his Orion Parallelogram Mount and tripod on the roof patio to show visitors views of the Western Sports and Recreation Centre. Paul distributed 6 “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015]) pamphlets. Everett distributed one “Getting Started in Astronomy” pamphlet and one “Star Finder” planisphere. The visitors were gone by around 9:10 p.m. and the observatory was closed down after an enjoyable evening learning about astronomy, despite the cloudy, damp weather.