Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Partly cloudy skies, becoming mostly clear by 10:30 p.m., greeted some 130 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, June 11th, 2016, 8:30 p.m. Professor Jan Cami was introduced by colleague Carol Jones and made 4 presentations of his digital slide presentation “Binary Stars: How a Partner Can Change Your Stellar Life.” The first 2 presentations were to full houses and the last 2 for much smaller groups.

Professor Carol Jones was telescope operator in the dome and directed the big 25.4cm refractor (28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X) towards the Moon for most of the evening, before moving to Jupiter. The Moon was just one-day-prior-to-first quarter, occurring, June 12th, 4:10 a.m.

There were 8 RASC London Centre members present, including Dale Armstrong, Everett Clark, Peter Jedicke, Paul Kerans, Heather MacIsaac, Patrick Whelan, Tricia Colvin and Mark Tovey. Dale showed visitors the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn with the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece, 133X). Peter Jedicke and Patrick Whelan showed visitors the Moon, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn with the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). Everett Clark showed visitors the Moon, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn with the observatory’s Orion AstroView 6 (15cm) Newtonian reflector. Heather MacIsaac showed visitors the Moon, Jupiter and Mars with her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov telescope (25mm Plossl eyepiece, 50X).

Physics and Astronomy staff member Henry Leparskas and Peter helped a couple of visitors take pictures of Jupiter through the 25.4cm Dobsonian with the iOptron cell phone adapter. Everett also used the iOptron cell phone adapter to take pictures with his cell phone of the Moon through the 15cm Newtonian and helped visitors take pictures with their cell phones. Peter called everybody’s attention to an ISS pass travelling from northwest to east southeast, between 9:55—10:01 p.m., reaching an altitude of 53 degrees above the north northeast horizon.

Henry Leparskas and Tricia Colvin both gave tours of the observatory’s downstairs “Black Room,” where they operated the “Transit Demo” model (demonstrating the transit detection method for finding extra-solar planets), and the historic “Period Room.” Tricia was later joined by Mark in the “Period Room” to welcome visitors.

There were 15 “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015]) pamphlets and 2 “Star Finder” planispheres distributed to interested visitors. Dale showed the Moon in the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain and Everett showed Jupiter in the 15cm Newtonian once more to a few visitors before the observatory closed around 11:15 p.m., after very enjoyable and informative evening of astronomy.