Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Partly cloudy skies greeted some 50 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, June 20th, 2015, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Sahar Rahmani made the first of 2 presentations of her digital slide presentation “The Life Cycle of the Stars”, before an audience of some 18 people. With more people arriving she made her presentation a second time for an estimated total of some 50 visitors for the evening.

Graduate student Dilini Subasinghe was telescope operator in the dome and made ready the big 25.4cm refractor. RASC London Centre was represented by Bob Duff, Dale Armstrong, Tricia Colvin, Mark Tovey, Peter Jedicke, Paul Kerans and graduate student and RASC London Centre member Emily McCullough. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was also there and listened to the slide lecture. 

Early in the evening Emily reorganized the bulletin board and map display case drawers in the dome. The newly received pamphlets “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015]), which had been brought by Peter Jedicke June 6th, were made available to interested visitors. Bob brought the RASC London Centre newsletter “Polaris” (June 2015), which was posted on the bulletin board along with an earlier “Polaris” issue.

Dilini showed visitors the 4-day-past-new crescent Moon and Venus in the western sky, through the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome, using the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X). She then showed them Jupiter, swapping in the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X) for a better view. On the roof patio outside the dome, Tricia and Mark showed visitors the Moon, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn in the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). Peter also showed them Mizar and Alcor in the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). 

Dale showed visitors the Moon, Jupiter and Arcturus in the Observatory’s powered 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain. Emily operated the recently donated 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, which had no power supply and had to be moved manually, showing people the Moon and Jupiter, using the Tele Vue 26mm Plossl eyepiece (77X) and then swapping in the 15mm Sky-Watcher Ultra-Wide (133X) and the 8mm eyepiece (250X) for a better view of Jupiter.

Emily also showed a few visitors Saturn in the powered 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain, using the 15mm Sky-Watcher Ultra-Wide (133X) and 8mm (250X) eyepiece. Saturn drifted in and out of clarity with clouds but a few people were impressed with their first time view of the ringed planet. Dale took some time to collimate the other 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, which had no power supply and Emily had been operating. 

Bob, Dale and Peter spoke with one young lady visitor who had brought her Go-To Celestron 90mm Maksutov telescope and set it up on the roof patio, where she showed a few visitors the Moon, Saturn and Vega.

Western’s Physics and Astronomy Department computer resources person and RASC member Henry Leparskas took pictures throughout the evening with his camera, including a group portrait in the dome of volunteers at the end of the evening. The Observatory was closed down between 11:08—11:30 p.m. after an excellent evening of astronomy slide presentations and observing through telescopes.