Exploring the Stars, 110th Byron Sparks, March 20th, 2017

Cloudy skies greeted 25 visitors (14 children and 11 adults / leaders) from the 110th Byron Sparks for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, March 20th, 2017, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Viraja Khatu presented the digital slide presentation “Constellations” and fielded questions. Viraja followed this with the activity “Make Your Own Constellation / Constellation Detective” showing a slide displaying 4 different patterns of dots connected with lines and having the children correctly match them with those on 4 laminated sheets—having images of 4 different constellations—distributed to them.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Paul Kerans. Everett set up the observatory’s Orion 6-inch (15cm) Newtonian reflector (26mm Plossl eyepiece, 29X) on the Sky-Watcher EQ5 mount inside the dome so as to view the Western Sports & Recreation Center through the door to the roof patio. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Paul gave a brief talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Paul explained the difference between a refractor and reflector telescope. The children viewed the air conditioner on the roof of the Western Sports & Recreation Center through the Orion 6-inch (15cm) Newtonian reflector (26mm Plossl eyepiece, 29X).

Paul showed the visitors his chondrite (stony) and iron meteorites as well as his Moon and Mars meteorite samples in small plastic display cases. Paul had placed his lunar meteorite sample display case in a wooden block with a transparent Lexan polycarbonate sheet cover and the children were invited to “walk on the Moon.” Paul gave out one “Star Finder” planispheres. The visitors were gone by around 7:30 p.m. after an enjoyable evening learning about astronomy and telescopes.