Exploring the Stars, 1st St. Thomas Brownies, March 22nd, 2018

Clear skies greeted 25 visitors (12 children and 13 adults) from the 1st St. Thomas Brownies for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, March 22nd, 2018, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Jeff Vankerkhove made the digital slide presentation “The Scout / Guide Astronomy Badge” and fielded questions. Jeff followed this with the “Constellations” activity, distributing 25 “Star Finder” planispheres, showing the visitors how to assemble them with adhesive tape, and demonstrating how to use them to locate constellations in the sky.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Bob Duff. Everett directed the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome towards the 5-day-past-new Moon, installing the Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X). Everett also set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) on the observation deck and directed it towards the Moon. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk on some of the history of the observatory and technical aspects of the 25.4cm refractor. The visitors then lined up to view through the telescopes, with Everett showing them the Moon and later the double star Castor—which was nicely resolved in the 25.4cm refractor (157X). Bob also showed them the Moon through the 25.4cm Dobsonian, as well as the double star Castor which was just resolved in the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X).

Towards the end of the evening Jeff gave a shortened demonstration of the Spectroscopy Demo” in the downstairs “Black Room,” with 10—15 visitors (children and adults) putting on diffraction grating glasses to view the spectra of 4 gas discharge lamps set out on the table, including: hydrogen, helium, neon and mercury. The visitors were gone by around 8:30 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy under clear skies.