Mostly clear, slightly hazy skies with a few clouds, greeted 49 visitors, including 28 children and 21 adults (not counting one infant) from the St. Thomas Brownies for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Wednesday, January 14th, 2015, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Tony Martinez made the digital slide presentation “The History of Space Exploration” and included a short video about the Rosetta mission by ESA. Tony fielded many questions from the audience. After everybody had gone upstairs into the dome, Tony gave 20 “Star Finder” planispheres to some of the leaders and showed them how to assemble and use them.
RASC London Centre was represented by Bob Duff, later joined by Tricia Colvin. Bob set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian on the roof patio outside the dome and located Comet Lovejoy, which made a splendid view in the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). Comet Lovejoy was west of Aldebaran and south of the Pleiades. Bob also directed the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome towards the Orion Nebula (M42), installing the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) with the 2-inch Orion UltraBlock Narrowband Light Pollution filter to improve contrast. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor.
Bob then invited everybody to form 2 groups with one going out on the roof patio where Tricia supervised as they viewed Comet Lovejoy through the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). The other group viewed the Orion Nebula (M42) through the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) supervised by Bob sitting at the top of the observing ladder. The Orion Nebula made a fine sight through the Orion UltraBlock Narrowband Light Pollution filter. People were able to view the Comet and the Orion Nebula as they went inside and outside the dome to view through both telescopes. The visitors were gone by around 8:20 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.