Exploring the Stars, 29th Byron Scout Troop, April 26th, 2012

Graduate student Tyler Desjardins made the digital slide presentation, The X-Ray Universe, before 8 visitors (6 children and 2 adults) from the 29th Byron Scout Troop, at the Cronyn Observatory for Exploring the Stars, Thursday, April 26th, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Allison Hill was also present.

Tyler then made two special demonstrations. He set up helium, mercury and neon lamps and distributing prism (grating) glasses to everybody in the lecture room. The visitors viewed the colour spectra of the glowing gas in the lamps and Tyler explained how astronomers identified the chemical elements in stars using spectroscopes.

His second demonstration involved setting up a slide projector, with its lens removed, so that the light was directed though a prism on to 3 thermometers to measure the temperature of blue, red and infrared light. This was the experiment by which astronomer William Herschel discovered (invisible) infrared light.

Despite some intermittent clouds blowing over from the west, Tyler was able to show the visitors some pleasing views of Venus through the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome, using the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle Eyepiece (157X). RASC London Centre member Bob Duff showed them the crescent Moon through the 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler (67X) and 6mm Orthoscopic (190.5X) eyepieces. Bob also showed them Venus (190.5X).

Bob also set up the Cronyn Observatory’s 20.3cm Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain with its 12.5mm Orthoscopic eyepiece (160X), giving the Scouts some impressive views of the weathervane on the roof of the Environmental Engineering building.

The group left around 8:30 p.m. or later after a very interesting evening of slide presentation, science demonstrations and astronomy.