Exploring the Stars, 104th London Cub Pack, February 13th, 2013

Graduate student Parshati Patel greeted 5 children and 2 adults from the 104th London Cub Pack to the Cronyn Observatory for Exploring the Stars, Wednesday, February 13th, 2013, 7:00 p.m. They would later be joined by another adult for a total of 8 visitors (5 children and 3 adults). RASC London Centre members Everett Clark and Bob Duff assisted and were joined later by Dave McCarter.

Since high thin clouds were moving in from the west, Parshati brought them immediately upstairs into the dome. Everett Clark made ready the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) in the dome and set up the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) on the roof patio. Parshati showed them Jupiter in the big 25.4cm refractor and Bob Duff showed them the 3-day-past new crescent Moon in the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian. They later also viewed the Moon in the 25.4cm refractor.

Dave McCarter showed up around 7:15 p.m. with an electric drill and installed 2 small counterweights on the back end of the Dobsonian optical tube to balance off the recently installed 8 X 50mm right-angle finderscope mounted on a dovetail bracket (for removal during storage). The Dobsonian balanced nicely with the crescent Moon centred in the finderscope’s crosshairs and telescope’s field of view. Dave soon departed leaving everybody to continue observing.

Parshati took the group back downstairs and made the slide presentation, “The Scout / Guide Astronomy Badge” followed by the activity “Crater Experiment” in which flour and cocoa was poured into an aluminum tray, set out on the floor, and objects were dropped into it to demonstrate how craters are formed.

In a final tour of the dome the visitors viewed Jupiter in the big 25.4cm refractor and Everett installed the Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X) to try and include all 4 Galilean moons in the field of view. Bob also showed them splendid views of Jupiter in the 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 6mm Ortho eyepiece (186X). Parshati distributed 5 “Star Finder” plansipheres and took everybody downstairs to explain how to use them. She also distributed 5 “Moon Gazers’ Guide” cards. Everybody was gone by around 8:30 p.m. after expressing their appreciation for a very informative and enjoyable evening of astronomy.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre