Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Cloudy skies with occasional light rain greeted some 23 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, July 22nd, 2017, 8:30 p.m. Geophysics and Planetary Science graduate student Alyssa Werynski presented her digital slide presentation “A Tour of the Solar System” and fielded questions. Undergraduate student Sunny Xiyang was “crowd manager,” welcoming and counting 23 visitors by the end of the evening.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Heather MacIsaac, Bob Duff, Peter Jedicke and Mark Tovey. The dome remained closed due to rain. Heather set up her Go-To computerized Celestron NexStar 90SLT 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain (17mm Plossl eyepiece, 73.5X) inside the dome so as to view the communications tower in south London through the door to the observation deck. Everett and Heather helped a visitor set up and use his newly acquired Go-To computerized Celestron NexStar 4SE 102mm Maksutov-Cassegrain (25mm Plossl eyepiece, 53X), which was directed so as to view through the door towards the Engineering building.

When the visitors arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk on the history of the observatory and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. He explained the Cassegrain reflector telescope and Schmidt camera piggy-backed on the main telescope as well as the 2 Maksutov telescopes set up inside the dome. Bob also explained the 2 clocks on the east wall and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time. Everett, Heather and Bob talked to the visitors, who were invited to view through the Maksutov telescopes.

Downstairs in the “Black Room” graduate student Robin Arnason gave demonstrations of the “Transit Demo” model—showing how the transit detection method worked for finding extra-solar planets, as well as demonstrations of the “Spectroscopy Demo” with the visitors putting on diffraction grating glasses to view the spectra of 4 gas discharge lamps set out on the table, including: hydrogen, helium, neon and mercury. RASC London Centre member Peter Jedicke and Mark Tovey gave tours of the historic “1940s Period Room,” a recreation of Dr. H. R. Kingston’s 1940 office and the “1967 Period Room” recreating the early control room of the Elginfield Observatory to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation—Canada 150. Both “Period Rooms” were designed by Mark Tovey.

The observatory was closed down by 10:50 p.m., after an interesting and enjoyable evening for the visitors, beginning with the slide presentation “A Tour of the Solar System,” followed by tours of the telescopes in the dome; the “Black Room” with the “Transit Demo” and “Spectroscopy Demo”; and the historical “Period Rooms.”