Exploring the Stars, 1st St. Thomas Brownies, March 24th, 2016

Cloudy skies and rain greeted 38 visitors (17 children and 21 adults) from the 1st St. Thomas Brownies for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, March 24th, 2016, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Dilini Subasinghe made the digital slide presentation “Cub Scout Astronomy Badge” and fielded questions. Dilini followed this with the activity “Telescope Kits”, with the children assembling simple telescopes from small reusable kits.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Paul Kerans. Since it was raining the dome remained closed. Everett and Paul cleared out and reorganized the old dark room, now used for telescope storage, and hauled out the donated Orion AstroView 6 (15cm, f/5) Newtonian equatorial reflector from its cardboard box. They found the 26mm TeleVue Plossl eyepiece belonging to the most recently donated of the observatory’s two 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. This eyepiece was installed in the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (26mm TeleVue Plossl eyepiece, 43X) which Everett set up just inside the dome door to the roof patio and directed towards the exhaust stack with the lightning rod on the Engineering building.

Everett set up the Orion AstroView 6 (15cm) Newtonian reflector (25mm eyepiece, 30X) on its equatorial mount right behind the 25.4cm Dobsonian so as to view out the dome door towards the Western Student Recreation Centre. Paul set up his Nikon 10 X 50mm binoculars on his Orion Parallelogram Mount and tripod behind the Orion 15cm Newtonian reflector and directed it towards the Western Student Recreation Centre. Everett also set up the 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope on its Sky-Watcher equatorial mount for display behind Paul’s parallelogram mounted binoculars.

When the visitors arrived upstairs in the dome, Paul gave a talk on some of the history of the Cronyn Observatory and explained how the big 25.4cm refractor and the 25.4cm Dobsonian and the Orion 15cm Newtonian reflector telescopes worked. Also explained was how the 90mm Coronado H-Alpha solar telescope was used to view solar prominences and other features on the Sun’s surface. The visitors enjoyed the views through the telescopes and Paul’s binoculars and asked many questions. Everybody was gone by around 8:30 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening learning about astronomy and telescopes, despite the rainy weather.