Exploring the Stars, 1st Seaforth Cubs and Scouts, April 4th, 2016

Clear skies greeted 31 visitors (16 children and 15 adults / leaders) from the 1st Seaforth Cubs and Scouts for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, April 4th, 2016, 7:00 p.m.  Graduate student Kendra Kellogg made the digital slide presentation “Scouts and Cubs Astronomy Badge” and fielded questions.  Kendra followed this with the activity “Crater Experiment,” demonstrating how meteor craters are formed by dropping various size balls into a pan placed on the floor and filled with flour topped with chocolate powder.  She invited the children to take turns making their own meteor craters by dropping balls into the pan of flour topped with chocolate powder.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans and Bob Duff.  Everett set up the observatory’s Orion AstroView 6 (15cm) Newtonian reflector (10mm Plossl eyepiece, 75X) with the Sky-Watcher EQ5 mount on the roof patio outside the dome.  Everett also directed the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome towards Jupiter, high in the southeastern sky.  When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor, using his green laser pointer to indicate the 25.4cm objective lens and finderscopes.  Bob also used his green laser pointer to show them the Cassegrain reflector and Schmidt camera piggy-backed on the 25.4cm refractor and explained how a reflector telescope worked.  Bob also explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall.

Everett showed visitors Jupiter through the big 25.4cm refractor, beginning with the 52mm Erfle eyepiece (84X) and later the 32mm Erfle (137X) as seeing conditions improved.  Everett also showed them the red giant star Betelgeuse through the 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X).  Paul took the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mmNagler eyepiece, 66X) downstairs and set it up on the sidewalk on the south side of the Cronyn Observatory to show a boy in a wheelchair Jupiter.  Paul then brought the 25.4cm Dobsonian back upstairs on to the roof patio where he showed visitors Jupiter, Betelgeuse and the Orion Nebula (M42).  Paul also showed visitors Jupiter and M42 in the Orion AstroView 6 (15cm) Newtonian reflector (10mm Plossl eyepiece, 75X).  Bob assisted showing several visitors M42 in the 25.4cm Dobsonian and later Jupiter in the Orion AstroView 6 (15cm) Newtonian reflector.  Paul also showed the visitors his stony-iron meteorite and an iron / nickel meteorite, which he had brought with him.  The visitors were mostly gone by around 9:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy under clear skies.