Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Cloudy skies with some later clearing greeted visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, July 19th, 2014, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Neil Bhatt made his digital slide presentation “The Sun” and fielded questions. Graduate student Nina Ivkovich was crowd manager and counted 14 visitors by 9:00 p.m. after 3 people had left. People came and went so that by the end of the evening Neil estimated that there had been about 20 visitors all together.

Graduate student Joe Trollo was telescope operator for the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Bob Duff, Dale Armstrong and Mark Tovey. Dale brought a sheet of ruby red lithographic film which he taped over the computer screen in the dome with silver duct tape. This allowed the computer to be used without adversely affecting dark adaptation. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome Bob gave a talk about the history and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor and explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall.

Everett assisted Joe with the big 25.4cm refractor showing visitors the communications tower in south London (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) and later, when the sky partly cleared, Arcturus to 3 people. They also observed Arcturus in the 25.4cm refractor using the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X) but it was not viewed by any visitors.

On the roof patio Dale operated the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain (26mm Plossl eyepiece, 77X) and began by showing visitors the TV screen visible through the windows in the Western Student Recreation Centre, later swapping in the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece and 2X Barlow lens from the Coronado telescope (320X) to show them Mars. However, only RASC London members viewed Saturn and the “Double-Double” star system Epsilon Lyrae in the Schmidt-Cassegrain. Bob operated the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) showing people the wind turbine on the Engineering building and later Arcturus, Polaris and Saturn.

Everett gave out 3 “Moon Gazers’ Guide” cards to interested visitors. Everybody was gone and the Cronyn was closed down by 10:45 p.m. after an interesting and enjoyable evening of astronomy.