Clear, somewhat hazy skies greeted 9 visitors (5 children and 4 adults / leaders) from the 10th London Guides & Pathfinders for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, April 24th, 2017, 7:30 p.m. Graduate student Jeff Vankerkhove presented the digital slide presentation “Constellations” and fielded questions. Jeff followed this with the activity “Kitchen Comet,” making a comet from dry ice and other materials.
RASC London Centre was represented by Paul Kerans and Bob Duff. Paul made ready the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome, installing the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X). When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. He explained the Schmidt Camera and Cassegrain Reflector telescope piggy-backed on the 25.4cm refractor and fielded questions. Bob then called everybody’s attention to the 2 clocks on the east wall of the observatory and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time.
Jeff directed the 25.4cm refractor towards Jupiter in the southeastern sky and supervised as the visitors looked through the big telescope. Paul had set up the London Centre’s home-built 30.5cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 88X) on the roof patio for the visitors to view Jupiter and later Betelguese. Bob explained how the 30.5cm Dobsonian reflector telescope worked and supervised observing.
Paul showed the visitors his meteorites, including the chondrite (stony) and iron meteorites as well as the Moon and Mars meteorite samples in small plastic display cases. Paul invited them to “walk on the Moon” by stepping on his lunar meteorite sample display case placed in a wooden block with a transparent Lexanpolycarbonate sheet cover. The visitors were gone by around 9:00 p.m. after an enjoyable evening of astronomy.