Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, May 16th, 2015

Generally clear hazy skies with some occasional clouds greeted 20 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, May 16th, 2015, 8:30 p.m. Professor Pauline Barmby made the first of 2 presentations of her digital slide presentation “The Pleiades” before an audience of about 8 visitors. She made her presentation a second time for a few more arrivals. There were a total of some 20 visitors for the evening.

Graduate student Jeff Vankerkhove was telescope operator in the dome and directed the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) towards Venus in the western sky. He later swapped in the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X) for a better view of Venus, which appeared brilliant white at half-phase. Jeff later redirected the big 25.4cm refractor, with the help of RASC London Centre member Bob Duff, towards Jupiter, which was impressive at 244X.

RASC London Centre was represented by Bob Duff, Steve Gauthier, Mark Tovey, Tricia Colvin, Dale Armstrong and Peter Jedicke. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was there and listened to the slide lecture. London Centre member Mike Flegel was also there later in the evening. Bob and Jeff set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X), which Steve operated for the rest of the evening, swapping in the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (89X) to show visitors a better view of Jupiter. Steve, with some assistance from Dale and Bob, then used a 20mm Plossl eyepiece with a 2X Barlow lens (111.5X) to show visitors an even better view of Jupiter in the 25.4cm Dobsonian. (The 2X Barlow lens was from the Observatory’s 90mm Coronado Solar telescope.) Steve later showed a few people Arcturus in the 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X).

Steve and Bob also set up the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain and Mark and Tricia supervised as visitors viewed Venus (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X) and then Jupiter 12.5mm (Ortho eyepiece, 160X) in this telescope. Dale thought it was extremely rare and fortunate to experience a night of “perfect seeing” in London, Ontario, which was is why the views of Jupiter were so good.

Bob spoke to one couple interested in telescopes, showing them his copy of SkyNews (May/June 2015) and giving them each a RASC London Centre and RASC National brochure. The visitors were gone with the Observatory closed down around 11:05 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.