A clear sky greeted 40 visitors (21 children and 19 adults) from the 1st Dorchester Sparks and Brownies, for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, March 5th, 2018, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Viraja Khatu presented the digital slide presentation “Constellations” and followed this with the activity “Make Your Own Constellation / Constellation Detective.”
Viraja had made ready the big 25.4cm refractor and opened the dome prior to making her slide presentation. RASC London Centre member Bob Duff installed the 32mm Erfle eyepiece in the big 25.4cm refractor and also set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) on the observation deck. When everybody 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 25.4cm refractor. Viraja then directed the big 25.4cm refractor towards the star Sirius and showed the visitors a yellow star, later identified—using the Stellarium planetarium software on the laptop computer—as probably HIP 31827, a K2 spectral class star (magnitude 4.8) in the constellation Canis Major. Bob showed them the Orion Nebula (M42) through the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) set up on the observation deck.
The visitors were gone by around 7:45 p.m. after expressing their thanks for a very enjoyable evening learning about stars and constellations and observing though telescopes under a clear sky.