Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, March 25th, 2017

Cloudy skies with occasional rain showers greeted 18 visitors (12 adults and 6 children) to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, March 25th, 2017, 8:00 p.m. Graduate student Robin Arnason presented his digital slide presentation “How I Helped Discover a Black Hole (and Lived to Tell the Tale!)”before an audience of 16 visitors and fielded questions. Two more people arrived later in the dome to bring the total to 18 visitors for the evening.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans and Bob Duff. Rain ruled out opening the dome. Everett set up the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (26mm Plossl eyepiece, 77X) inside the dome so as to view the TV screen in the Western Sports & Recreation Center through the roof patio door. He set up the other observatory 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X) without its tripod on the table facing out the open window so as to view the red light above the north campus buildings.

When the visitors arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk on the the history of the Cronyn Observatory and some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Bob also explained the Cassegrain Reflector telescope and Schmidt Camera piggy-backed on the 25.4cm refractor as well as the Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes set up inside the dome. Everett and Bob talked with the visitors and showed them the London Centre’s 30.5cm and 25.4cm Dobsonian telescopes in the storeroom, explaining how a reflector telescope worked.

Following Robin’s slide presentation Paul spoke with some of the visitors in the lecture room and showed them his meteorites, including the chondrite (stony) and iron meteorites as well as the Moon and Mars meteorite samples in small plastic display cases. Paul invited visitors to “walk on the Moon” by stepping on his lunar meteorite sample display case placed in a wooden block with a transparent Lexan polycarbonate sheet cover. The observatory was closed down around 10:00 p.m. after the last visitors left.