Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, July 8th, 2017

Clear skies greeted some 111 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, July 8th, 2017, 8:30 p.m. Professor Margaret Campbell-Brown made 2 presentations of her digital slide presentation “Meteor Showers and fielded questions. Undergraduate student Josh Folkerson was “crowd manager” for the evening and counted a total of 111 visitors.

Professor Peter Brown was telescope operator, and directed the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome towards Jupiter, using hour angle and declination coordinates from the Starry Night Pro software on the computer. Visitors enjoyed excellent views of Jupiter through the 25.4cm refractor, using the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X) and 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X). Saturn was observed after 11:00 p.m. through the 25.4cm refractor, using the 28mm Meade SWA eyepiece (157X) and 17mm Nagler eyepiece (258X).

RASC London Centre was represented by Dale Armstrong, Heather MacIsaac, Steve Imrie, Henry Leparskas, Bob Duff, Mark Tovey, Steve Gauthier and Peter Jedicke. There were 3 amateur telescopes set up on the observation deck outside the dome. Dale showed visitors Jupiter and Saturn through the observatory’s 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain (15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece, 133X). He later doubled the magnification by installing the CEMAX 2X Barlow lens—from the observatory’s 90mm Coronado H-Alpha solar telescope—and used his Lumicon Oxygen-III (OIII) filter to try and split the double star Antares in the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain (266X). The OIII filter revealed what appeared to be a bright emerald companion to the fainter red Antares. However, a similar double image was revealed when viewing Arcturus, indicating that an internal reflection in the OIII filter was producing the double image. Dale later showed visitors the “Double-Double” star system Epsilon Lyrae, through the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain (12.5mm Ortho eyepiece, 160X), the Ring Nebula (M57) and globular cluster M13.

Steve Imrie operated the London Centre’s home-built 30.5cm Dobsonian to show people Jupiter, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (88X). Steve Gauthier arrived and used his laser collimator to adjust the 30.5cm Dobsonian’s secondary mirror. They then showed visitors good views of Jupiter and Saturn using Steve Gauthier’s 9mm Nagler eyepiece (166X), and Saturn again with his 7mm Nagler (214X). Bob Duff brought out the Zhumell 2-inch Variable Polarizing Filter, donated to the London Centre by Norm McCall for use at the Cronyn Observatory, and Steve Gauthier installed it in the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (88X) to show visitors a comfortable view of the full Moon through the 30.5cm Dobsonian.

Heather showed visitors good views of Jupiter and Saturn through her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov using a 17mm Plossl eyepiece (73.5X), and later doubled the magnification with a 2X Barlow lens to show Saturn at 147X.

Mark Tovey gave visitors tours of the downstairs “1940s Period Room,” an historic recreation (designed by Mark) of Dr. H. R. Kingston’s 1940 office with his brass refractor and the Sotellunium—a mechanical eclipse demonstration model built by W. G. Colgrove—on display. Mark also showed them his work being done on the “1967 Period Room,” recreating the early control room of the Elginfield Observatory to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation—Canada 150. Henry Leparskas gave demonstrations of the “Transit Demo” model—showing how the transit detection method worked for finding extra-solar planets—in the “Black Room” throughout the evening.

Henry and Bob gave out 7 of the observatory’s eclipse glasses folded into RASC London Centre brochures, to a group of visitors who requested them, as well as 7 “Star Finder” plansipheres. Observing Saturn through the 25.4cm refractor continued past 12:00 midnight, long after the last visitors had left, with the observatory being closed down by the remaining RASC London members, sometime later after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.