Exploring the Stars, Association for Bright Children & Kids Learning Connections, February 23rd, 2016

Clear skies with some high hazy clouds greeted 40 visitors (21 children and 19 adults) from the Association for Bright Children and the Kids Learning Connections for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016, 6:00 p.m. Graduate student Shannon Hicks made the digital slide presentation “Big Bang” and fielded questions. Shannon followed this with the activity “Telescope Kits”, with the children assembling simple telescopes from small reusable kits.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans and Bob Duff. When everybody arrived upstairs Bob gave a brief talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Everett directed the 25.4cm refractor towards Sirius which made a dazzling view in the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X). Shannon supervised observing through the 25.4cm refractor and the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X) was later swapped in to view Jupiter. Bob showed visitors Sirius and a few people the Orion Nebula (M42) as well as the one-day-past-full Moon, rising between hazy clouds in the east, through the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (12.5mm Ortho eyepiece, 160X).

Paul showed the visitors M42 and Jupiter through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). Paul also set up his Nikon 10 X 50mm binoculars on his Orion Parallelogram Mount and tripod on the roof patio to show the adults and some of the children M42, Jupiter and the Moon. Paul brought 2 meteorites, including an iron / nickel and a chondrite meteorite along with a tiny sample of the Tagish Lake carbonaceous chondrite meteorite in a small display case, which he showed to a couple of people.

There were 5 “Star Finder” planispheres given to visitors and 23 “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015]) pamphlets taken from the 50 laid out beside the computer on the table in the dome. The visitors were very appreciative of this very enjoyable and informative evening of astronomy and were gone by around 8:20 p.m.