Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, July 25th, 2015

Partly cloudy, later clearing skies greeted some 70 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, July 25th, 2015, 8:30 p.m. Beginning with 3 slides from the New Horizons spacecraft flyby mission of Pluto, Professor Jan Cami made 4 presentations of his digital slide presentation “Fingerprinting the Universe” and “Spectroscopy Demonstration” using 4 low pressure high voltage gas lamps, containing hydrogen, helium, mercury vapor and neon. A limited number of diffraction glasses were distributed to the audience who crowded around the table at the front of the lecture room where the gas lamps were set up. RASC London Centre members Bob Duff counted 43 visitors by 9:00 p.m. and Peter Jedicke counted 57 by 9:45 p.m. With some 10—16 later arrivals the estimated total number of visitors for the evening was around 70.

Professor John de Bruyn was telescope operator for the big 25.4cm refractor and was assisted by Physics and Astronomy Department computer resources person and RASC member Henry Leparskas in opening the dome. RASC London Centre was represented Tricia Colvin, Mark Tovey, Bob Duff, Paul Kerans, Steve Gauthier, Peter Jedicke, Steve Imrie and graduate student and London Centre member Emily McCullough. London Centre member Roman Dubinski showed up on the roof patio and Richard Gibbens listened to the slide lecture. 

Emily and John de Bruyn operated the big 25.4cm refractor showing visitors the one-day-past-first quarter Moon and Saturn, using the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X). They also showed visitors Saturn in the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 18mm Radian (244X) and 6mm Ortho (731X) eyepieces, as well as Paul Keran’s Tele Vue 21mm Ethos eyepiece (209X), with its 100 degree apparent field of view.

Steve Gauthier operated the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian showing visitors the Moon, using Paul’s 21mm Ethos eyepiece (53X); Albireo (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X); and Saturn (8mm eyepiece, 139X), with the moons Titan and Rhea visible.

Tricia and Mark operated the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain, showing visitors the Moon and Saturn (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X) and Saturn again, using the 2X Barlow lens with the 20mm Plossl eyepiece (200X). The 2X Barlow lens was from the 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope. 

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 on the roof patio and showed visitors the Moon (32mm Plossl eyepiece, 39X); and Saturn and Mizar and Alcor (17mm Plossl eyepiece, 73X).

The Observatory was closed down around 11:00 p.m. after a very interesting evening of slide presentations, spectroscopy demonstrations and much observing through telescopes under good skies.