Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Partly cloudy skies greeted visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, July 26th, 2014, 8:30 p.m. Since there was no slide projector immediately available graduate student Abedin Abedin gave his first talk “Comets” without slides. He later made his second presentation of “Comets” with slides after the basement storeroom was finally unlocked and the digital slide projector made available. RASC London Centre member Mark Tovey stood at the entrance for most of the evening and counted the visitors, who numbered 68 by 10:20 p.m.

Graduate student Jeffrey Vankerkhove was telescope operator for the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. RASC London Centre was represented by Dale Armstrong, Mark Tovey and Bob Duff, later joined by Everett Clark. London Centre member Peter Jedicke arrived at the very end of the evening to join fellow members. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was also there and listened to the lecture. 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. Bob began assisting Jeffrey with locating Saturn in the big 25.4cm refractor between the clouds but was soon called away by Dale to take over the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian set up on the roof patio’s west side. Everett arrived and assisted Jeffrey with the big 25.4cm refractor, which was directed towards Saturn, making a fine sight through the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X).

Dale operated the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain and showed people Mars, Altair, Vega and Arcturus, using the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece and 2X Barlow lens from the Coronado telescope (320X), and Deneb and the TV screen visible through the windows in the Western Student Recreation Centre, using the 26mm Plossl eyepiece (77X). Bob located Saturn in the 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X), and then swapped in the 6mm Ortho eyepiece (186X) to give visitors a better view. Bob later showed them Arcturus and Vega through the 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X).

Everybody was gone by around 11:00 p.m. after an interesting and enjoyable evening of astronomy despite partly cloudy skies.