Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

Mostly clear skies greeted an estimated 70 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, May 23rd, 2015, 8:30 p.m. Professor Stan Metchev began the first of 3 presentations of his digital slide presentation “Towards Finding Other Earths” before an audience of about 18 visitors (including 6 children). He made his presentation a second and third time for more arrivals. RASC London Centre member Bob Duff counted a total of 58 people in the lecture room and dome by 9:12 p.m. More people arrived bringing the estimated total to 70 for the evening.

Professor Paul Wiegert was telescope operator in the dome and directed the big 25.4cm refractor (28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X) towards the 5-day-past-new crescent Moon. He later redirected the big 25.4cm refractor towards Saturn, rising in the eastern sky, which made an impressive sight in the big telescope.

RASC London Centre was represented by Bob Duff, Steve Gauthier, Mark Tovey, Tricia Colvin, Dale Armstrong, Peter Jedicke, Roman Dubinski and graduate student and RASC London Centre member Emily McCullough. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was also there and listened to the slide lecture. Tricia and Steve showed people Jupiter in the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler (66X) and 12.5mm Ortho (89X) eyepieces. Dale Armstrong operated the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain and showed visitors Jupiter, using the 15mm Sky-Watcher eyepiece and 2X Barlow lens (266X) and Saturn, using the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (160X). (The 2X Barlow lens was from the Observatory’s 90mm Coronado Solar telescope.) Emily McCullough operated the recently donated 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (Tele Vue 26mm Plossl eyepiece, 77X), which had no power supply and had to be moved manually, showing people Venus and Jupiter. She also helped a young boy with his small National Geographic, alt-azimuth mounted 50mm refractor to view the Moon.

Mark set up his 8-inch (20.3cm) Celestron CPC 800 GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain and showed people Venus, using 40mm Omni (51X) and 15mm (135X) eyepieces, and globular cluster M3 (135X). Peter Jedicke took pictures of the Moon and Saturn through the big 25.4cm refractor using his Samsung S4 smartphone. Western’s Physics and Astronomy Department computer resources person and RASC member Henry Leparskas took pictures throughout the evening with his camera, including a group portrait in the dome of volunteers at the end of the evening. The Observatory was closed down by 11:35 p.m. after an excellent evening or astronomy slide presentations and observing through telescopes.