Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, May 13th, 2017

As Reported by Everett Clark

Cloudy skies with rain greeted 40 visitors (including 15 children) to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, May 13th, 2017, 8:30 p.m. Professor Pauline Barmby presented the digital slide presentation “Connecting People and the Universe” and fielded questions.

Graduate student Shannon Hicks was telescope operator but, since rainy weather ruled out opening the dome, she gave a talk on the observatory’s history and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Shannon also explained the 2 clocks on the east wall of the observatory and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Heather MacIsaac, Peter Jedicke and Mark Tovey. Everett set up the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X) inside the dome so as to view the TV screen in the Western Sports & Recreation Center window through the roof patio door. Heather showed visitors the communications tower in south London through her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov (32mm Plossl eyepiece, 39X) set up so as to view out the roof patio door.

Mark Tovey gave visitors tours of the downstairs “Period Room,” a historic recreation (designed by Mark) of Dr. H. R. Kingston’s 1940 office with his brass refractor and the Sotellunium—a mechanical eclipse demonstration model built by W. G. Colgrove—on display.

Heather distributed 15 “Star Finder” planispheres to the children in the dome. The observatory was closed down by around 10:00 p.m. after an interesting evening learning about astronomy, despite the rainy weather.