Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, June 6th, 2015

Mostly clear skies with a few hazy clouds greeted some 110 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, June 6th, 2015, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Neven Vulic made his digital slide presentation “X-Ray Astronomy: No Lead Required” twice during course of the evening. Peter Jedicke counted 95 people before Neven’s second slide talk and with later arrivals the estimated total came to 110 visitors.

Graduate student Nina Ivkovich was telescope operator for the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and showed visitors Venus and Jupiter (18mm Radian eyepiece, 244X) and Saturn (28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X). RASC London Centre was represented by Tricia Colvin, Bob Duff, Mark Tovey, Dale Armstrong, Steve Gauthier, Peter Jedicke, and Harold Tutt. They were joined by London Centre member Roman Dubinski. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was also there and listened to the slide lecture. 

On the roof patio Dale operated the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain (using various eyepieces) and showed people Jupiter, Saturn, the double-star Izar, the red giant star Antares, M13 and M57. Dale also showed a few people the orange and blue double-star Albireo in the Schmidt-Cassegrain. Tricia and Mark operated the second, recently donated, 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, which had no power supply and had to be moved manually, showing people Venus and Jupiter (Tele Vue 26mm Plossl eyepiece, 77X) and later Saturn (12.5mm Ortho eyepiece, 160X). Steve operated the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian and, amongst other things, showed people Venus, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X); Saturn, using the 18mm Radian eyepiece and 2X Barlow lens (124X); and Albireo. (The 2X Barlow lens was from the Observatory’s 90mm Coronado Solar telescope.) Harold set up his 80mm Stellarvue Nighthawk refractor on a Vixen Alt-Azimuth mount on the grassy lawn behind Alumni Hall, showing a few visitors Venus, Jupiter and Saturn.

Bob gave copies of the newly received pamphlet “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015]) brought by Peter Jedicke to a couple of interested visitors. Peter placed 2 boxes of “Getting Started in Astronomy” in the Cronyn Observatory basement storeroom and a few more in the map display case drawer in the dome.

Towards the end of the evening there was an ISS pass (11:05 p.m.) which was too far north to observe, and 2 Iridium flares in the west (11:08 p.m. and 11:17 p.m.), the second of which was quite bright. These were listed on the Web site “Heaven’s Above”. When most of the visitors had left Dale, Peter and other RASC London Centre members assisted Nina and Neven in redirecting the big 25.4cm refractor to view M57, M13 and M27. The Observatory was eventually shut down around 12:35 a.m. after an unusually late evening of observing under clear skies.