Exploring the Stars, 1st Watford Scouts, November 18th, 2014

Mostly cloudy skies with cold, windy weather greeted 15 visitors (11 children and 4 adults) from the 1st Watford Scouts for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Tuesday, November 18th, 2014, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Parshati Patel made the digital slide presentation “The Scout / Guide Astronomy Badge” and fielded questions. She followed this with the activity “Kitchen Comet”, inviting everybody to the table at the front of the lecture room and making a comet with dry ice and other ingredients.

RASC London Centre was represented by Tricia Colvin, Mark Tovey, Everett Clark and Bob Duff. Tricia and Mark set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). Bob brought everybody upstairs into the dome and gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. He demonstrated the telescope’s motor drive and explained how it tracked the stars moving form east to west. Tricia rotated the dome after Bob removed the counterweight on the chain and Mark then pulled on the chain and pulley to open the dome briefly.

Bob also talked about the London Centre’s Dobsonian, explaining the difference between a refractor and reflector telescope. He also explained the 2 clocks on the east wall of the dome and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time.

The Scouts and adults took the opportunity to view through the 25.4cm Dobsonian after Everett had directed it so as to view through the door out to the roof patio towards the communications tower in south London. Mark supervised viewing through the 25.4cm Dobsonian. Everybody was gone by 9:00 p.m. after and enjoyable and interesting evening learning about astronomy, comets and telescopes.