Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Partly cloudy, hazy skies greeted some 75 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, July 11th, 2015, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Laura Lenkic made her digital slide presentation “Ground Based Telescopes (but really) a Look at Radio Astronomy” before an audience numbering 52 people by 9:00 p.m., and with more arrivals there were an estimate 75 visitors by the end of the evening.

Graduate student Maryam Tabeshian was telescope operator for the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and was assisted by undergraduate student Nathalie Thibert who was crowd manager. RASC London Centre was represented Bob Duff, Steve Gauthier, Paul Kerans, Dale Armstrong, Scott Vodon, Tricia Colvin, Mark Tovey, Steve Imrie, Dave McCarter and Peter Jedicke. London Centre member Roman Dubinski was there as was Richard Gibbens, who listened to the slide lecture and later showed up on the roof patio outside the dome. Physics and Astronomy Department computer resources person and RASC member Henry Leparskas was also there.

Maryam Tabeshian and Nathalie Thibert, later assisted by Dale Armstrong and Peter Jedicke, showed visitors Venus and Jupiter in the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X); and later showed people Saturn, using the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X). Peter gave a telescope talk as people lined up to view through the big 25.4cm refractor. 

Visitors had a variety of telescopes to view through on the roof patio. Dale operated the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain, using the 15mm Sky-Watcher Ultra-Wide eyepiece and 2X Barlow lens (266X) to show visitors Saturn and the double-stars Izar and Albireo. (The 2X Barlow lens was from the 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope.) Dale also showed visitors Albireo in the Schmidt-Cassegrain, using just the 15mm eyepiece (133X) without the 2X Barlow lens. Steve Gauthier operated the RASC London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, showing visitors Saturn, using the 17mm Nagler (66X), 12.5mm Ortho (89X) and 8mm (139X) eyepieces; and the double-star Albireo (66X).

There were 2 RASC London Centre members who brought their telescopes. Paul Kerans set up his 12-inch (30.5cm) Meade LightBridge Truss-Tube Dobsonian and showed visitors Saturn, using a 31mm Baader Hyperion (49X) and 15mm Celestron Axiom LX (101X) wide field eyepieces, and the Ring Nebula (M57), using the 15mm (101X) eyepiece. Scott Vodon set up his newly acquired Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ Newtonian reflector telescope with motor drive and Bob assisted him in acquiring Saturn using the 20mm (33X) and 10mm (65X) eyepieces. 

Heather MacIsaac, has been bringing her telescope to the Cronyn Observatory and recently joined the RASC as an unattached member. She set up her Go-To Celestron 90mm Maksutov telescope (32mm eyepiece, 39X) on the roof patio and showed visitors Venus and Saturn. 

At Peter’s suggestion, Bob announced and distributed copies of the newly received pamphlet “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015])—brought by Peter Jedicke, June 6th—to several interested visitors in the dome. Observing continued until around 11:30 p.m. with the Observatory finally closing down around 11:50 p.m. after a very interesting evening with Laura’s slide presentation on radio astronomy, much observing through telescopes and many questions asked about astronomy.