Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, July 30th, 2016

Partly cloudy skies, clouding over after 10:00 p.m., greeted some 120 visitors to the Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, July 30th, 2016, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Sahar Rahmani made 2 presentations of her digital slide presentation “The Life Cycle of Stars,” with the first presentation at 8:30 p.m. and the second one at 9:30 p.m. Physics and Astronomy staff member Henry Leparskas supervised visitors and undergraduate student William Hyland was also there.

Graduate student Robin Arnason was telescope operator for the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans, Dale Armstrong, Peter Jedicke, Heather MacIsaac, Tricia Colvin and Mark Tovey. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was there and listened to the slide lecture.

Robin directed the big 25.4cm refractor (18mm Radian eyepiece, 244X) in the dome towards Mars and later Saturn. Dale Armstrong gave a brief telescope talk in the dome and also adjusted the collimation on the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, which was set up on the roof patio outside the dome. Peter Jedicke operated the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) for the evening, showing visitors Saturn, Mars and Antares.

Dale Armstrong operated the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, showing visitors Mars, Saturn, Antares and Altair, using the 15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece together with the CEMAX 2X Barlow lens—borrowed from the observatory’s 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope—for a total magnification of 266X. Heather MacIsaac showed visitors Mars and Saturn through her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov, using her 17mm Plossl eyepiece (73.5X).

Downstairs in the “Black Room” Tricia Colvin operated the “Transit Demo” model—demonstrating the transit detection method for finding extra-solar planets. Mark Tovey gave tours of the historic “Period Room,” which featured the “Sotellunium” mechanical eclipse demonstration model and Dr. H. R. Kingston’s brass refractor telescope.

The last visitors were gone by around 10:45 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy and the Cronyn Observatory was closed down shortly thereafter.