Exploring the Stars, 81st London Cubs, February 2, 2017

Mostly clear skies greeted 20 visitors (12 children and 8 adults / leaders) from the 81st London Cubs for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, February 2nd, 2017, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Jeff Vankerkhove presented the digital slide presentation The Cub Scout Astronomy Badgeand fielded questions. Jeff followed this with the activity “Kitchen Comet,” making a comet from dry ice and other materials on a table set up at the front of the lecture room.

RASC London Centre was represented by Paul Kerans. Before everybody went upstairs into the dome, Paul took the Cubs outside the front door of the observatory and showed them how to find the North Star, Polaris, using the Big Dipper. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Paul gave a brief talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. He pointed out that there were 5 telescopes, including the Schmidt camera and the Cassegrain reflector, as well as the 2 finderscopes, all piggybacked on the big 25.4cm refractor.

Jeff operated the big 25.4cm refractor and showed the Cubs the 6-day-past-new crescent Moon, just one day prior to first quarter. Jeff also showed them the planets Venus, using the Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X), and Mars, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (258X), through the big 25.4cm refractor. On the roof patio outside the dome, Paul set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian and showed the Cubs the Orion Nebula (M42), Betelgeuse, the Pleiades (M45) and the Moon. Paul showed the visitors his chondrite (stony) and iron meteorites as well as his Mars meteorite sample in its small plastic display case. The visitors were gone by around 9:00 p.m., after an enjoyable evening of astronomy.