Cloudy skies greeted 37 visitors (27 children and 10 adults) from the Arthur Stringer Public School Grade-6/7 class for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, March 20th, 2014, 6:45 p.m. Graduate student Dilini Subasinghe made her digital slide presentation Mars and answered questions. Dilini immediately followed this with the activity Constellations, distributing some 26 Star Finder planispheres and circulating 2 roles of Scotch tape for everybody to complete assembling them. She used a slide showing the planisphere and slides of the constellations to show them how to use them.
RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Bob Duff. Everett made ready the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian telescope on the Observatory’s roof patio, directing it towards the weathervane on the Engineering building. Bob gave some assistance with assembling the Starfinder planispheres and then went upstairs into the dome with everybody where he gave a talk about the history of the Cronyn Observatory and the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. He explained the 2 clocks on the east wall of the dome and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time. Bob then directed the big 25.4cm refractor towards the lights on the communications tower in south London as Everett rotated the dome. Bob supervised as students and adults lined up to climb the observing ladder and view a red light on the communications tower through the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X). Everett showed the visitors the weathervane on the Engineering building through the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X).
Everett distributed Cronyn Observatory information cards to adults and Bob had a conversation with one man about Mars and the Moon before bringing in the 25.4cm Dobsonian telescope from the patio. Everybody was gone by around 8:30 p.m. after a very busy but enjoyable evening of astronomy education and observing through telescopes despite the cloudy weather.