Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, May 24th, 2014

Mostly clear skies greeted visitors to the Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, May 24th, 2014, 8:30 p.m. Faculty member Dr. Sarah Gallagher made 2 presentations of her digital slide presentation Gasbags and Blowhards Supermassive Black Holes in the Universe before an audience numbering 28 people by 8:40 p.m. Graduate student Richard Cyr was crowd manager and estimated more than 90 people in his count by 10:22 p.m.

Graduate student Edward Milla was telescope operator for the evening. RASC London Centre members Everett Clark, Bob Duff, Dale Armstrong, Steve Imrie and Peter Jedicke assisted in the dome and set up amateur telescopes. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was also there and listened to the lecture. Since the sky was still bright when visitors began arriving in the dome, Bob gave a brief talk about the Cronyn Observatory and the big 25.4cm refractor, explaining the 2 clocks on the east wall of the dome and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time. Edward, assisted by Everett and Bob, began showing people Jupiter through the 25.4cm refractor, beginning with the 32mm Erfle (137X) and then swapping in the 18mm Radian (244X) eyepiece to view Jupiter, the double-star Castor and Saturn.

On the roof patio outside the dome Steve and Bob operated the 25.4cm Dobsonian showing visitors Jupiter with the 17mm Nagler (66X) eyepiece and then swapping in the 6mm Ortho (186X) eyepiece to show them Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. Everett showed people Saturn through the 15cm Orion AstroView 6 Equatorial Reflector set up on the Sky-Watcher EQ5 SynScan computerized mount, first with the 10mm Plossl (75X) eyepiece and then adding the 2X Barlow lens from the Coronado telescope to double the magnification to 150X. Dale and Peter showed visitors Mars, Saturn and the globular cluster M13 in the 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain, getting pleasing results with the Sky-Watcher UltraWide 15mm eyepiece (133X).

Bob called everybody’s attention to an Iridium flare which brightened in the northeast sky at 10:45 p.m. The visitors were mostly gone by around 11:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable and interesting evening of astronomy.