Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, March 12th, 2016

Hazy, cloudy skies greeted some 100 or more visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, March 12th, 2016, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Kendra Kellogg presented her digital slide presentation “Our Connection to the Cosmos” twice, with people coming downstairs from the dome for the second presentation (8:00 p.m.), which had 37 visitors in attendance. Undergraduate student William Hyland greeted and supervised visitors at the entrance of the Cronyn Observatory. RASC London Centre member Peter Jedicke reported 88 visitors in total (dome and lecture room) around 8:08 p.m. and, with more people arriving, there was an estimated 100 or more visitors by the end of the evening.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans, Charlene Kerans and Peter Jedicke, and they were joined by Bob Duff, who arrived around 7:57 p.m. Peter gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Graduate student Laura Lenkic was telescope operator for the first hour and left around 8:00 p.m., with Everett taking over operation of the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. Visitors viewed the 4-day-past-new crescent Moon through hazy clouds in the 25.4cm refractor, first with the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) and then the 52mm Erfle eyepiece (84X) for a better view. They also viewed Jupiter in the 25.4cm refractor through the 52mm Erfle eyepiece (84X) and then the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X).

On the roof patio outside the dome Charlene showed visitors the Moon and Jupiter and, briefly, the star Sirius through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). Paul set up his Nikon 10 X 50mm binoculars on his Orion Parallelogram Mount and tripod on the roof patio and Bob later used it to show a few visitors the communications tower in south London, with its red and white lights, and the Moon. Paul showed a few visitors 4 meteorites that he had brought including a stony-iron and an iron / nickel meteorite, as well as samples of Moon and Mars meteorites in small display cases.

There were 6 “Star Finder” planispheres, 20 “Moon Gazers’ Guide” cards and 8 “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015]) pamphlets distributed to visitors, who were mostly gone by around 9:00 p.m. after an enjoyable and informative evening of astronomy.