Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, June 14th, 2014

Clear skies greeted some 60 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, June 14th, 2014, 8:30 p.m. Physics and Astronomy Department Chair Dr. Shantanu Basu made his digital slide presentation “Galaxies” twice during the evening. Visiting professor Dr. Duncan Steel was also there. Graduate student Jeff Vankerkhove was telescope operator and postdoctoral fellow Sofia Lianou was crowd manager.

RASC London Centre was represented by 8 members including Harold Tutt and John Kulczycki who set up their telescopes on the grassy lawn on the south side behind Alumni Hall. Harold showed visitors Mars and Saturn through his 80mm Stellarvue Night Hawk refractor and John, Mars and the Moon through his 102mm Stellarvue ED refractor. Some 15—20 people, not all visitors to the Cronyn, looked through their telescopes.

Other RASC London Centre members—Dale Armstrong, Mike Costa, Everett Clark, Bob Duff, Steve Imrie and Peter Jedicke—all worked in the Cronyn Observatory dome and roof patio. Everett and Peter worked with the telescope operator graduate student Jeff Vankerkhove on the 25.4cm refractor, using the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X) to show visitors Mars, Saturn and, the one-day-past Full Moon, which rose late in the evening.

Dale operated the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain, showing visitors Mars (12.5mm Ortho eyepiece and 2X Barlow lens, 320X), Saturn (15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece, 133X), the double-stars Izar (320X) and Albireo (133X), and the globular cluster M13 (133X). Mike brought his iOptron Solar 60 refractor and showed people Mars, Saturn and the Moon. Steve took charge of the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian and showed people Mars and Saturn, using the 6mm Ortho eyepiece (186X), and the Moon and Mizar and Alcor, using 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X).

Everybody viewed the ISS pass, 10:36 p.m.—10:41 p.m., reaching 26 degrees altitude in the north northeast and a few people saw the Iridium flare, 10:50 p.m., at 36 degrees altitude in the northeast. Everett gave out one “Moon Gazers’ Guides” card to a visitor. The Observatory was finally closed down around 11:30 p.m. after the last visitor left in what was a very successful evening of public outreach in astronomy.