Cloudy skies and snow flurries greeted 35 visitors (21 children and 14 adults) from the 17th London Brownies to the Cronyn Observatory for Exploring the Stars on Tuesday, February 5th, 2013, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Emily McCullough made her digital slide presentation, “Brownies Exploring Space.”
Bringing the group upstairs into the dome around 7:15 p.m., Emily demonstrated the big 25.4cm refractor, briefly rotating and opening the dome between snow flurries. She brought the children individually up the observing ladder and showed them the right ascension and declination setting circles on the equatorial mount. She also explained the clocks on the wall and involved the children in demonstrating standard and sidereal time as they related to the Earth’s rotation and revolution around the Sun.
Since the communications tower in south London was not visible due to hazy conditions, RASC London Centre Everett Clark directed the Observatory’s Meade 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain out the door and towards the television screen (showing weather information) in the Western Student Recreation Centre. RASC London Centre member Bob Duff showed the Brownies views through the Schmidt-Cassegrain, which was fitted with the 26mm Plossl eyepiece (77X). Everett had the software, “Starry Night” running on the computer in the dome.
Finally, Emily distributed 22 “Star Finder” planispheres to the 21 children and Brownie leader and explained how to assemble and use them. Bringing the group back downstairs into the lecture room Emily gave 19 copies of the book, “Mary Lou’s New Telescope,” to the Brownie leader to distribute later with the badges. The event was over by 8:15 p.m. and everybody left after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy, despite the snow.
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre