Exploring the Stars, 10th London Guides and Pathfinders, November 7th, 2016

Clear skies greeted 16 visitors (including 11 children and 5 adults / leaders) from the 10th London Guides and Pathfinders, for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, November 7th, 2016, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Kendra Kellogg presented the digital slide presentation “The Earth Moon System” and fielded questions. Kendra followed this with the activity “Crater Experiment” and invited the Guides to drop various size balls into a pan—placed of the floor—filled with flour and topped with chocolate powder to demonstrate impact cratering.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Norm McCall, Paul Kerans and Bob Duff. When the Guides arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a brief talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor as well as the Schmidt camera and Cassegrain reflector piggybacked on the main telescope. Bob also called everybody’s attention to the 2 clocks on the east wall and explained the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time.

Kendra and Everett directed visitors as they climbed the observing ladder to view the first-quarter Moon through the big 25.4cm refractor (28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X). They also showed the visitors the yellow and blue double star Albireo and the bright star Vega though the 25.4cm refractor (157X). The visitors were invited to “walk on the Moon” by stepping on Paul Kerans’ lunar meteorite sample in a small plastic display case placed in a wooden block and protected with a transparent Lexan polycarbonate sheet cover.

On the roof patio outside the dome, Paul set up his 9.25-inch (23.5cm) Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain (Vixen equatorial mount) and showed visitors Mars and the Moon (10mm Axiom LX eyepiece, 235X), and then globular cluster M13, the Owl Cluster (NGC457) and the planet Uranus (21mm Ethos eyepiece, 112X). Norm McCall showed visitors the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and the Moon through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). Bob Duff directed the 25.4cm Dobsonian towards the Ring Nebula (M57). Bob and Norm talked with the visitors as they viewed the Ring Nebula (M57) through the 25.4cm Dobsonian.

The visitors were gone by around 8:00 p.m. after expressing their appreciation for an excellent evening of astronomy.