Cloudy skies with light rain (drizzle) later in the evening greeted 28 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, June 9th, 2018, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Ben George presented the digital slide presentation “Brown Dwarfs and Their Potential for Finding Exoplanets” and fielded questions. Graduate student Megan Tannock was initially at the door doing “crowd control” and counted 26 visitors during the slide presentation, with 2 more arriving during the questions after the presentation. Since there were few visitors, Megan went downstairs into the “Black Room,” after 30 minutes of opening, to do the “Transit Demonstration” and “Spectroscopy Demonstration.” In all there were 28 visitors, including 2 who showed up after the slide presentation.
Graduate student Keegan Marr was telescope operator for the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and, since it was cloudy, showed visitors the communications tower in south London through the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. Since there were few guests and it began to drizzle rain, Keegan closed the dome and talked to the visitors about the 25.4cm refractor. Keegan focused on showing off the dome and allowing children to rotate the dome.
RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Heather MacIsaac and Paul Kerans. Everett set up the observatory’s Meade 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain inside the dome so as to view the communications tower in south London through the door to the observation deck. Paul hauled out the London Centre’s home-built 30.5cm Dobsonian and 25.4cm Dobsonian telescopes from the storeroom and collimated the 30.5cm Dobsonian. Paul also spoke to a couple of visitors and showed them his iron and chondrite meteorites.
Downstairs in the “Black Room,” Megan demonstrated the “Transit Demonstration,” with the “Transit Demo” model—showing how the transit detection method worked for finding extra-solar planets—and the “Spectroscopy Demonstration,” with the visitors putting on diffraction grating glasses to view the spectra of 4 gas discharge lamps, including hydrogen, helium, neon and mercury. She also unlocked the door to the historic“1940s Period Room” for the visitors to explore. Paul Kerans came down later and showed a couple of visitors around the “1940s Period Room.”
Since there were few visitors, with everybody gone by 10:15 p.m., Keegan closed the dome by 10:30 p.m. It was an interesting evening for the visitors, with the slide presentation on brown dwarfs and exoplanets, demonstrations of the transit detection method for finding extrasolar planets, the spectroscopy demonstration and a tour of the 1940s history room.