Exploring the Stars, 77th London Cubs, March 30th, 2017

As Reported by Paul Kerans

Cloudy skies and rain greeted 23 visitors (11 children and 12 adults / leaders) from the 77th London Cubs for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, March 30th, 2017, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Jeff Vankerkhove presented the digital slide presentation “The Scout / Guide Astronomy Badge”with the title slide “The Basics” and fielded questions. Jeff followed this with the activity “Telescope Kits” with the Cubs assembling and testing simple telescopes from small reusable kits.

Rain ruled out opening the dome. RASC London Centre member Paul Kerans set up the observatory’s Orion 6-inch (15cm) Newtonian reflector on the Sky-Watcher EQ5 mount inside the dome for demonstration since wind and rain prevented opening the door to the roof patio. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Paul gave a brief talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Paul explained the difference between a refractor and reflector telescope.

Paul talked about the size of the solar system, including the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud, and answered many questions. Paul also showed the Cubs his meteorites, including the chondrite (stony) and iron meteorites as well as the Moon and Mars meteorite samples in small plastic display cases. Paul invited them to “walk on the Moon” by stepping on his lunar meteorite sample display case placed in a wooden block with a transparent Lexan polycarbonate sheet cover. He handed out one “Star Finder” planisphere. The visitors were gone by around 8:45 p.m. after an enjoyable evening learning about astronomy, telescopes and meteorites.