Cloudy skies greeted 30 visitors, including 16 children and 14 adults, from the 36th London Sparks for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, January 15th, 2015, 6:00 p.m. Graduate student Parshati Patel made the digital slide presentation “Constellations” and fielded questions. She followed this with the activity “Constellations”, distributing 14 “Star Finder” plansipheres and showing the slide “Reading a Star Finder”. Parshati also demonstrated the sky charting software “Stellarium” and explained how it could be downloaded for free to an iPad or cell phone.
RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Tricia Colvin and Bob Duff. Bob gave a talk about the history and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) to help demonstrate, and also explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall. Everett had set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian telescope (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) inside the dome so as to view out the door and Bob directed it so as to view a compressed gas canister with gauges visible in the window of the nearby Engineering building to the south. Parshati supervised as the children viewed through the 25.4cm Dobsonian. Everybody was gone by around 7:30 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy, despite the cloudy weather.