Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, July 15th, 2017

Partly cloudy, later clearing skies greeted some 123 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, July 15th, 2017, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Josh Hedgepeth made 3 presentations of his digital slide presentation “Life in the Universe” and fielded questions. Graduate student Amanda DeSouza was “crowd manager” and counted 53 and 54 visitors for the first and second slide presentations, respectively; and there were 15 for the third slide presentation, for a total of 122 visitors. There was one late arrival in the dome bringing the total to 123 visitors.

RASC London Centre was represented by Steve Imrie, Heather MacIsaac, Bob Duff, Dale Armstrong, Mark Tovey, Peter Jedicke and Norm McCall. Graduate student Viraja Khatu was telescope operator and directed the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome towards Jupiter. Visitors enjoyed excellent views of Jupiter, and later Saturn, through the 25.4cm refractor, using the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X).

There were 3 amateur telescopes set up on the observation deck outside the dome. Dale showed visitors Jupiter and Saturn through the observatory’s Meade 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain (15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece, 133X). The Great Red Spot was visible on Jupiter. Dale later showed visitors the globular cluster M13, the Ring Nebula (M57) and the open star cluster M11 through the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain (26mm Plossl eyepiece, 77X).

Steve Imrie showed visitors Jupiter through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X) and then the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (89X). Steve also showed them Saturn through the 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler (66X) and 12.5mm Ortho (89X) eyepieces. Heather MacIsaac showed visitors good views of Jupiter and Saturn through her Go-To computerized Celestron NexStar 90SLT 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain (17mm Plossl eyepiece, 73.5X), and later the double-star Mizar and nearby Alcor.

Mark Tovey gave visitors tours of the downstairs “1940s Period Room,” an historic recreation (designed by Mark) of Dr. H. R. Kingston’s 1940 office with his brass refractor and the Sotellunium—a mechanical eclipse demonstration model built by W. G. Colgrove—on display. Mark also showed them his work being done on the “1967 Period Room,” recreating the early control room of the Elginfield Observatory to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation—Canada 150.

Bob gave out about 10 of the observatory’s solar eclipse glasses, folded into RASC London Centre brochures, to interested visitors, in anticipation of the August 21st solar eclipse, viewed as a partial eclipse from London, Ontario. The observatory was closed down around 11:37 p.m. after very enjoyable evening of astronomy under clear skies.