Exploring the Stars, Best Buddies at King’s, March 22nd, 2016

Cloudy skies with occasional rain greeted 16 visitors from Best Buddies at King’s College for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016, 6:00 p.m. Graduate student Shannon Hicks presented the digital slide presentation “Constellations” and followed this with the “Constellations Activity”, distributing 16 “Star Finder” planispheres. She then showed the visitors the slide “Reading a Star Finder” followed by several constellations slides from the astronomy software program “Stellarium” to help them learn how to use the planispheres.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Paul Kerans, later joined around 6:45 p.m. by Bob Duff. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Shannon gave a talk on the some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Everett helped Shannon open the dome and direct the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) towards the communications tower in south London. Shannon sat down at the top of the observing ladder and supervised as visitors climbed the steps to view of the lights on the communications tower through the big 25.4cm refractor. Shannon also explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall.

Bob supervised as visitors viewed the wind turbine on the Engineering building through the London Centre’ 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X), set up just inside the dome door to the roof patio to avoid any rain showers. Paul showed visitors views of the Western Student Recreation Centre through his Nikon 10 X 50mm binoculars on an Orion Parallelogram Mount and tripod set up on the roof patio. Paul also showed the visitors 2 meteorites that he had brought including a stony-iron and an iron / nickel meteorite.

Shannon took the group back downstairs and showed them a second slide presentation, “Our Solar System”, and fielded questions. The visitors were very appreciative and everybody was gone by around 8:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening learning about astronomy, despite the rainy weather.