Exploring the Stars, 120th London Brownies, March 26th, 2013

Mostly clear skies greeted 18 visitors (14 children and 4 adults) from the 120th London Brownies for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Tuesday, March 26th, 2013, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Parshati Patel made the digital slide presentation, “Brownies Exploring Space,” and followed this with 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.

Bringing the group upstairs into the dome, Parshati distributed 18 “Star Finder” planispheres and showed the visitors how to assemble and use them, since the sky was still too bright at the time to view constellations and the Moon was low in the east behind trees. Assisted by RASC London Centre Everett Clark, Parshati showed them the planet Jupiter and the one-day-prior-to full Moon through the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X). Everett also showed them Jupiter through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) set up on the roof patio outside the dome. They were joined by RASC London Centre member Bob Duff after 8:00 p.m.

Everett redirected the 25.4cm Dobsonian towards the Moon, rising in the east and removed the 8 X 50mm finderscope so that the telescope achieved better balance when directed at a low angle near the eastern horizon. Bob supervised the children and adults looking through the Dobsonian at the Moon, which made a pleasing image in the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). Towards the end of the evening a few visitors observed Jupiter again through the Dobsonian despite thin clouds moving in from the west.

A few parents who arrived to pick up their children viewed the Moon through the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. Everybody was gone by 8:45 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre