Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Hazy, partly cloudy skies greeted visitors to the Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, June 7th, 2014, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Neven Vulic made his digital slide presentation Supernova Explosions: Are They Cool or What?! There were 24 visitors present around 8:57 p.m., including one child upstairs in the dome. There may have been around 50 visitors by the end of the evening.

Astronomy graduate student and RASC London Centre member Dave Clark operated the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. Dave used a variety of eyepieces with the big 25.4cm refractor throughout the evening, showing visitors the 2-day-past-First Quarter gibbous Moon, using the 52mm Erfle (84X) and 18mm Radian (244X) eyepieces and his own 10mm Radian (438X) eyepiece. He also showed visitors Jupiter, Mars and Saturn in the big 25.4cm refractor.

RASC London Centre was represented by Dale Armstrong, Bob Duff, Mike Costa and Peter Jedicke. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was also there and listened to the lecture. On the roof patio outside the dome Dale set up the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain, showing people Mars, using the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (160X) and then doubling the magnification with the addition of the 2X Barlow lens (320X) from the Coronado telescope. Dale later redirected the Schmidt-Cassegrain for a pleasing view of Saturn (320X) and then swapped in the 26mm Plossl (77X) to show visitors the Moon. Finally, he showed visitors the “Double-Double” Epsilon Lyrae using the 15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece combined with the 2X Barlow lens (266X) to split the 2 close binary star systems.

Bob showed visitors the Moon through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). He soon swapped in the 6mm Ortho eyepiece (186X) to show people Mars, Saturn and the Moon. Bob later reinstalled the 17mm Nagler (66X) to show several visitors the entire Moon, explaining that the dark smooth mare were lava covered plains in contrast to the lighter colored and heavily cratered highlands, which were much older terrain.

Everybody paused at 9:50 p.m. to view an ISS pass, going west to northeast and reaching maximum altitude (40 degrees) in the north northwest. The visitors were gone shortly after 11:00 p.m., with the Observatory being closed down around 11:25 p.m. after an enjoyable evening of astronomy.