Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, June 10th, 2017

Partly cloudy skies greeted some 100 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, June 10th, 2017, 8:30 p.m. Professor Martin Houde made 3 presentations of his digital slide presentation “Submillimetre Astronomy” and fielded questions. Undergraduate students Angus Keith was “crowd manager.” There were 48 visitors at the first slide presentation, 28 at the second and 15 at the third for a total attendance of 91 visitors. There were a few people who went directly upstairs into the dome, bringing the estimated total to 100 visitors.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Heather MacIsaac, Steve Imrie and Henry Leparskas. Henry welcomed and directed visitors during the first slide presentation. Undergraduate student Sean Huggins was “telescope operator” for the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and Henry helped him learn how to use the hour angle and declination setting circles using celestial coordinates provided by the Starry Night Pro software on the computer. Sean successfully found Jupiter in the bright twilight sky. Visitors enjoyed a good views of Jupiter and Saturn through the 25.4cm refractor, using the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X).

On the roof patio outside the dome, Everett Clark and Heather MacIsaac supervised as visitors viewed Jupiter through the observatory’s 20.3cm Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X). Steve Imrie showed visitors Jupiter and Saturn through the London Centre’s home-built 30.5cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 88X) as well as the one-day-past-full waning gibbous Moon, rising low in the eastern sky and partly obscure by tree branches. Heather MacIsaac showed visitors Jupiter and Saturn through her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov (17mm Plossl eyepiece, 73.5X)

Henry Leparskas spent the evening downstairs in the “Black Room” giving demonstrations the “Transit Demo” model—showing how the transit detection method worked for finding extra-solar planets. Henry also gave visitors tours of the downstairs “1940s Period Room,” a historic recreation (designed by RASC London member Mark Tovey) 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. He did not open the “1967 Period Room” on which work was still being done.

Henry closed down “Black Room” and “1940s Period Room” at 10:30 p.m. and went upstairs to take over the observatory’s 20.3cm Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, showing visitors Saturn and Jupiter (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X) and the “Double-Double” star system Epsilon Lyrae (12.5mm Ortho eyepiece, 160X). The observatory was closed down around 11:00 p.m. after an excellent evening or astronomy.