Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Partly cloudy skies greeted 47 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, June 24th, 2017, 8:30 p.m. Postdoctoral fellow Dr. Andrew Pon made 2 presentations of his digital slide presentation “The Most Spectacular Images from Astronomy, and the Science behind Them” and fielded questions. Undergraduate student Roy Zang was “crowd manager” and counted 19 visitors (including 7 children) for the first slide presentation. Dr. Andrew Pon counted about 20 visitors for each of his 2 slide presentations. Several people arrived after the slide lectures or went directly upstairs into the dome. Roy counted a total of 47 visitors for the evening.

RASC London Centre was represented by Heather MacIsaac, Dale Armstrong, Bob Duff, Steve Imrie, Steve Gauthier, Mark Tovey and Peter Jedicke. Dale set up the observatory’s 20.3cm Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain on the observation deck and located Jupiter, using the 15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece (133X). He helped undergraduate student Meet Panchal, who was telescope operator, locate Jupiter with the big 25.4cm refractor. Meet showed visitors Jupiter and Saturn through the 25.4cm refractor, using the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X). Dale later helped Meet direct the 25.4cm refractor (18mm Radian eyepiece, 244X) to show people the “Double-Double” star system Epsilon Lyrae, the yellow and blue double-star Albireo and the Ring Nebula (M57).

Dale showed visitors Jupiter through the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain (15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece, 133X) but soon doubled the magnification by installing the CEMAX 2X Barlow lens—from the observatory’s 90mm Coronado H-Alpha solar telescope—to show Jupiter and Saturn at 266X. Dale later used his Lumicon Oxygen-III (OIII) filter to split the double star Antares in the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain (266X).

Steve Imrie and Steve Gautier operated the London Centre’s home-built 30.5cm Dobsonian to show people Jupiter and Saturn, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (88X), and later swapping in the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (120X) for a better look at Saturn. Heather MacIsaac showed visitors Jupiter through her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov (17mm Plossl eyepiece, 73.5X).

Mark Tovey gave visitors tours of the downstairs “1940s Period Room,” a historic recreation (designed Mark) 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. Mark also showed them his work being done on the “1967 Period Room,” recreating the early control room of the Elginfield Observatory to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation—Canada 150.

There was a bright Iridium flare visible towards the west at 11:08 p.m. (as reported on the Heavens Above Web site) and viewed by everybody on the observation deck. The observatory was closed down around 11:25 pm., after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.