Exploring the Stars, 8th Grade GEMS, January 24th, 2013

Graduate students Allison Hill and Ted Rudyk greeted 8 visitors (6 girls and 2 counsellors) from the 8th Grade GEMS to the Cronyn Observatory on Thursday, January 24th, 7:30 p.m. Allison made the digital slide presentation, “The Solar System,” and brought the group upstairs into the dome. It was a very cold night with clear sky.

Ted showed them Jupiter through the 25.4cm refractor, using the 18mm Panoptic (244X) and 32mm Erfle (137X) eyepieces. Seeing was not great but the shadow transit of the moon Io and Io’s egress off the face of Jupiter was observed. Sky charting software and space simulation programs available on the computer in the dome included “Celestia” and “Starry Night.”

RASC London Centre member Everett Clark arrived early and assisted with setting up the telescopes and was joined around 7:30 p.m. by Bob Duff and, later, Dave McCarter. Everett assisted Ted with the big 25.4cm refractor and the computer. Dave and Bob showed visitors the 6-day-past-first-quarter gibbous Moon through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). The visitors also observed the Moon through the big 25.4cm refractor. Several of the girls took photographs of the Moon through the telescope with their cell phone cameras with surprisingly good results.

Dave had his green laser pointer, which Allison briefly borrowed to point out stars and constellations. The stars of Orion were prominent and Dave named them much to the delight of the visitors on the Observatory’s roof patio. Allison also distributed 8 “Star Finder” planispheres to the group and explained how to use them. The visitors left around 8:30 p.m. after what was clearly for them a cold but very enjoyable evening of slide presentation, star gazing and ”cell phone celestial photography.”

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre