A clear, later partly cloudy sky, greeted 46 visitors, including 40 Cadets and 4 adults (later joined by 2 more adults) from #3 Striker Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, who arrived on a school bus from Strathroy, for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Tuesday, March 6th, 2018, 7:15 p.m. Graduate student Amanda DeSouza presented the digital slide presentation “The History of Space Exploration” and then invited RASC London member Bob Duff to the front of the room to help field questions.
Amanda then divided everybody into 2 groups with one group going upstairs into the dome and the other remaining in the lecture room to do the activity “Telescope Kits,” with the Cadets assembling and testing simple telescopes from small reusable kits. The 2 groups later traded places between the dome and the “Telescope Kits” activity in the lecture room.
RASC London Centre member Everett Clark directed the big 25.4cm refractor (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 258X) towards the double star Castor and set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 40X) on the observation deck. Bob gave 2 telescope talks, one to each group as they arrived in the dome, on some of the history of the observatory and technical aspects of the 25.4cm refractor. Everett showed the Cadets the double star Castor through the 25.4cm refractor. Bob supervised as the Cadets viewed the stars Sirius, Betelgeuse and Aldebaran, and the Pleiades (M45) star cluster through the 25.4cm Dobsonian.
At their request, Amanda took a group picture of the Cadets in the dome from the top of the observing ladder. The Cadets were gone by around 8:40 p.m. after expressing their thanks for very interesting and enjoyable evening learning about space exploration and observing the stars through telescopes.