Exploring the Stars, 69th Guides of London, March 17th, 2014

Graduate student Parshati Patel began the digital slide presentation “The Scout / Guide Astronomy Badge” before 13 visitors (10 children and 3 adults) from the 69th Guides of London, at the Cronyn Observatory for Exploring the Stars, Monday, March 17th, 2014, 6:30 p.m. They were later joined in the dome by one man, bringing the total to 14 visitors, including 4 adults.

Parshati followed her presentation with the activity “Telescope Kits”, in which the children assembled 10 telescope kits. She showed a slide with diagrams representing refractor and reflector telescopes and explained how telescopes worked. The children took the telescopes with them when they went upstairs into the dome and out on to the roof patio, where they tried them out on distant objects. (The children did not take the telescopes home since the kits were needed for other groups.)

Everett Clark and Bob Duff represented RASC London Centre. The sky was clear with some hazy clouds. Everett brought his camera along with a telescope camera adapter and 25mm Plossl eyepiece. Everett made ready the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian on the roof patio, directing it towards the spinning weathervane on the Engineering building. Sunset was at 7:33 p.m. and as twilight deepened Bob directed the 25.4cm Dobsonian towards Jupiter as it became visible, making a nice view for the Guides in the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). Bob later showed them the stars Sirius and Betelgeuse, the Orion Nebula (M42) and the Pleiades star cluster (M45).

Everett showed the Guides Jupiter through the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X), and later his 25mm Plossl (175X), for a splendid view of the planet. He also showed them Sirius using the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X). Everett later took some pictures of Jupiter through the big 25.4cm refractor with his camera, telescope camera adapter and 25mm Plossl eyepiece. The Guides were gone by around 8:30 p.m. after an enjoyable cold clear evening of astronomy.