Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, July 9th, 2016

Partly cloudy, later clearing skies greeted some 27 visitors to the Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, July 9th, 2016, 8:30 p.m. Professor Martin Houde made 2 presentations of his digital slide presentation “Submillimetre Astronomy.” There were 18 people for the first slide presentation and 4 for the second slide presentation.

RASC London Centre was represented by Paul Kerans, Heather MacIsaac, Bob Duff, Peter Jedicke, Steve Gauthier, Dale Armstrong, Tricia Colvin and Mark Tovey. Graduate student Megan Tannock was telescope operator for the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and graduate student Isabelle Cyr greeted and supervised visitors. Paul brought his Moon and Mars meteorite fragments in small plastic display cases, which he swapped in and out of a wooden block with a transparent Lexan polycarbonate sheet cover and invited visitors to walk on the Moon and Mars. Paul also showed people his iron meteorite.

Downstairs in the “Black Room” Physics and Astronomy staff member Henry Leparskas operated the “Transit Demo” model—demonstrating the transit detection method for finding extra-solar planets—and showed visitors the historic “Period Room.” Tricia and Mark soon take Henry’s place in the “Black Room” and “Period Room.”

Peter Jedicke tried to identify craters and other features on the Moon through the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome using his 21st Century Atlas of the Moon (Charles A. Wood and Maurice J. S. Collins, c2012). Steve Gauthier downloaded the freeware Virtual Moon Atlas 6.0 on the dome computer. Dale brought his camera and tripod and took pictures in the observatory dome and roof patio during the course of the evening.

Throughout the evening people viewed the 5-day-past-new crescent Moon, Jupiter and Saturn though the 25.4cm refractor with the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X), and Saturn again though Paul’s 21mm Ethos eyepiece (209X). They viewed Saturn and Mars though Paul’s 21mm Ethos eyepiece (209X) with the extension tube swapped in place of the diagonal prism in the 25.4cm refractor. They also viewed globular cluster M13 through the 25.4cm refractor with the diagonal and Paul’s 21mm Ethos eyepiece (209X).

On the roof patio outside the dome, undergraduate student William Hyland operated the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, showing visitors the Moon and Mars, using the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (160X). Steve Gauthier showed visitors the Moon through the 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X), later swapping in his 7mm Nagler (159X) to show them Jupiter, and then combining his 7mm Nagler and Orion Shorty 2X Barlow lens (318X) to view Saturn.

Paul Kerans set up his 9.25-inch (23.5cm) Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain (Sky-Watcher EQ6 mount) on the roof patio and showed visitors the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn, and later the orange and blue double star Albireo, using his 21mm Ethos eyepiece (112X). Paul swapped in his 13mm Ethos eyepiece (181X) to show people the globular cluster M13 though his 9.25-inch (23.5cm) Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain.

Heather MacIsaac showed visitors the Moon and Jupiter through her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov, using her 17mm Plossl eyepiece (73.5X). Heather later swapped in Steve Gauthier’s Tele Vue 15mm Panoptic eyepiece (83.3X) to show them Jupiter, Antares, Saturn and Mizar and Alcor through her 90mm Maksutov telescope.

The last visitors left around 11:00 p.m. and the observatory was closed down around 11:45 a.m. after an excellent evening of observing.