Exploring the Stars, 99th London Sparks, November 9th, 2015

Clear skies greeted 22 children and 15 adults (not including one toddler) for a total of 37 visitors from the 99th London Sparks for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, November 9th, 2015, 6:00 p.m. Graduate student Tony Martinez presented the digital slide presentation “Constellations” and fielded questions. Tony followed this with the activity “Constellations”, distributing 23 “Star Finder” planispheres and showing everybody how to assemble and use them.

RASC London Centre was represented by Paul Kerans and Bob Duff. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a brief talk about the Cronyn Observatory, including some technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor, and explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall. Paul showed the visitors the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mmNagler eyepiece, 66X), which he had set up on the roof patio outside the dome. Tony and Bob directed the big 25.4cm refractor (28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X) towards the yellow and blue double star Albireo. Tony began supervising as the children and adults climbed the observing ladder to view Albireo through the big 25.4cm refractor. Bob soon took over supervising visitors viewing through the big 25.4cm refractor and Tony went out and joined Paul on the roof patio. 

Tony used Paul’s laser to point out stars and constellations, including the Pleiades and the Summer Triangle stars, Vega, Deneb and Altair. Paul showed the visitors an iron meteorite. There were 5 “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015]) pamphlet distributed to visitors and everybody was gone by 7:30 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.