Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, September 30th, 2017

Clear skies greeted some 95 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, September 30th, 2017, 8:00 p.m. Graduate student Viraja Khatu made her digital slide presentation “Light: The Information Carrier in Space” and fielded questions. RASC London Centre member Henry Leparskas counted more than 75 visitors, for an estimated total of 95 visitors.

Graduate student Amanda DeSouza operated the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and, after a brief view of the 3-day-past-first quarter gibbous Moon, showed visitors Saturn and the “Double-Double” star system, Epsilon Lyrae, using the (17mm Nagler eyepiece (258X). RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Henry Leparskas, Steve Imrie, Peter Jedicke and youth member Jacob Renders with his father.

There were 2 amateur telescopes set up on the observation deck outside the dome. Jacob Renders and his father operated the observatory’s Meade 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain showing visitors the Moon and Saturn. Steve Imrie operated the London Centre’s home-built 30.5 Dobsonian showing visitors the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), using the 20mm (75X) and then 25mm (60X) Plossl eyepieces. Since these short focal length eyepieces were difficult to focus in the 30.5cm Dobsonian, Steve swapped in one of the observatory’s 2-inch diameter eyepieces, probably the 54mm Erfle (29X), to show visitors the Ring Nebula (M57), Albireo, Saturn and the “Double-Double” star system Epsilon Lyrae.

Peter Jedicke recalls that the sky was clear but moonlit and dome seeing was not very good. There was a family who brought a small “department store” refractor, which they spent some time learning how to use before leaving early. The downstairs “Black Room” and “Period Rooms” remained closed for the evening. The observatory was closed shortly after 10:00 p.m. but observing with the big refractor in the dome continued until 10:45 p.m.