Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, November 26th, 2016

Cloudy skies with rain showers greeted 20 visitors (including 5 children) to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, November 26th, 2016, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Dilini Subasinghe presented the digital slide presentation “Juno at Jupiter” and fielded questions.

Bob Duff brought the Zhumell 2” Variable Polarizing Filter #3 donated by Norman McCall to RASC London Centre for use at the Cronyn Observatory. The Zhumell 2-inch Variable Polarizing Filter #3 was placed in a drawer in the dome storage room.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans, Bob Duff, Tricia Colvin and Mark Tovey. Graduate student Robin Arnason was telescope operator early in the evening until he left and Dilini took over. Since cloudy rainy weather ruled out opening the dome, Everett Clark set up the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (26mm Plossl eyepiece, 77X) inside the dome, so as to view out the door to the roof patio towards the red lights on the communications tower in south London. The London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) was set up inside the door so as to view the wind turbine on the Engineering building.

The visitors viewed through the telescopes and asked questions. Paul showed visitors his chondrite (stony) and iron meteorites as well as his Moon meteorite sample in a small plastic display case. Paul had placed his lunar meteorite sample in a wooden block with a transparent Lexan polycarbonate sheet cover and he invited visitors to “walk on the Moon.” Paul distributed 3 “Star Finder” planispheres to interested visitors.

Downstairs into the “Black Room,” Tricia Colvin demonstrated the “Transit Demo” model—demonstrating the transit detection method for finding extra-solar planets. Mark Tovey gave tours of the historic “Period Room,” which featured the “Sotellunium” mechanical eclipse demonstration model and Dr. H. R. Kingston’s brass refractor telescope.

The visitors were gone by around 9:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening learning about astronomy, despite the cloudy damp weather.