Exploring the Stars, 1st Ilderton Beavers, March 1st, 2018

A cloudy sky with wind and falling snow greeted 20 visitors (10 children and 10 adults) from the 1st Ilderton Beavers for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, March 1st, 2018, 6:00—7:30 p.m. Graduate student Jeff Vankerkhove presented the digital slide presentation “Constellations” and fielded questions. Jeff followed this with the activity “Make Your Own Constellation / Constellation Detective”—but leaving out the “Constellation Detective”—with the children drawing their own constellations by connecting the dots on a given pattern of stars on white transparency sheets with magic markers, and making up their own constellation stories.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Bob Duff. Since it was snowing, the dome remained closed. Everett set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) inside the door to the observation deck. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Jeff gave a talk on the some of the history and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) for demonstration. He showed them how the shutter worked on the Schmidt camera, which was piggybacked on the 25.4cm refractor along with the Cassegrain reflector telescope. Jeff rotated, but did not open, the dome to show how it worked. Jeff showed them the 25.4cm Dobsonian and explained how a reflector telescope worked.

Bob supervised as the Beavers lined up to view the wind turbine on the Engineering building through the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X), which was set up just inside the door to the observation deck. The visitors asked good questions and everybody was gone by around 7:30 p.m., after an enjoyable evening learning about the constellations and telescopes, despite the snowy, cloudy weather.