Exploring the Stars, 84th London Beaver Colony, December 8th, 2016

Cloudy skies with some occasional light snow greeted 29 visitors (16 children and 13 adults / leaders) from the 84th London Beaver Colony for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, December 8th, 2016, scheduled 6:15—7:15 p.m. Graduate student Shannon Hicks presented the digital slide presentation “Our Solar System” with NASA / JPL “Eyes on the Solar System” software and fielded questions. Shannon then brought everybody upstairs into the dome.

RASC London Centre was represented by Bob Duff and Paul Kerans. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob Duff gave a talk about the Cronyn Observatory and some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Bob also explained the Schmidt camera and Cassegrain reflector telescope piggy-backed in the 25.4cm refractor and, in response to an inquiry, the 2 clocks on the east wall of the dome and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time.

Since possible snow flurries ruled out opening the dome, Paul Kerans set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) inside the door to the roof patio and supervised as the Beavers viewed the wind turbine on the Engineering building.

Paul showed the visitors his Moon meteorite sample in a small plastic display case, which was placed in in a wooden block with a transparent Lexan polycarbonate sheet cover, and invited them to “walk on the Moon.” Shannon and Bob supervised as Beavers took turns stepping on the wooden block containing Paul’s lunar meteorite sample.

Shannon then brought everybody back downstairs to the lecture room for the activity “Telescope Kits,” with the Beavers assembling small cardboard telescopes from reusable kits. The visitors were gone by around 7:30 p.m. after expressing their appreciation for a very enjoyable and informative evening learning about astronomy and telescopes.