Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

Partly cloudy skies greeted visitors for the first Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, May 3rd, 2014, 8:30 p.m. Faculty member Dr. Pauline Barmby began her digital slide presentation The Eta Aquarids: Shooting Stars from Halley’s Comet before an audience of 9 people (not including 2 who came and went). There were 12 people later in the dome and 15 visitors in total by the end of the evening. Postdoctoral fellow Sofia Lianou was crowd manager.

Graduate student Parshati Patel was telescope operator and directed the big 25.4cm refractor (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 258X) towards the crescent Moon in the partly clearing western sky. People came upstairs into the dome early after Dr. Pauline Barmby’s short talk to view the Moon, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn in the big 25.4cm refractor.

RASC London Centre member Dale Armstrong set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian and was soon joined by fellow members Bob Duff, Everett Clark and Peter Jedicke. People viewed the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars through the 25.4cm Dobsonian with Dale and Bob using a variety of eyepieces, including the 32mm Erfle (35X), 18mm Radian (62X), 12.5mm Ortho (89X) and 6mm Ortho (186X). Areas of clear sky were remarkably transparent with good views of Jupiter and Mars. Saturn was a pleasing sight in the 25.4cm Dobsonian for visitors despite being low in the southeastern sky.

Bob gave one man a RASC London Centre brochure and Everett gave out 4 Star Finder planispheres to interested visitors. Everybody was gone by 10:45 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.