Exploring the Stars, Dad Club London, November 16th, 2017

Cloudy skies, with some wet snow falling, greeted 33 visitors (19 children and 14 adults) from Dad Club London, for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, November 16th, 2017, 6:30 p.m. They were welcomed by graduate students Daniel Hatfield and Viraja Khatu. Daniel presented the digital slide presentation “Our Solar System” and fielded questions. This was followed by Viraja doing the “Crater Experiment” activity, with various size balls being dropped into a pan—placed on the floor—filled with flour, mixed with some chocolate powder, to demonstrate impact cratering.

Since cloudy, wet snowy weather ruled out opening the dome, RASC London Centre member Bob Duff set up the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X) inside the dome so as to view the TV screen in the Western Sports & Recreation Center windows, through the door to the observation deck. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome Bob gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and technical aspects of the 25.4cm refractor, including the Cassegrain reflector telescope and Schmidt camera piggy-backed on the main telescope. Bob also explained the 2 clocks on the observatory’s east wall and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time. The children and adults lined up to view through the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain and asked questions.

The visitors were then invited downstairs into the “Black Room” where Daniel did the “Spectroscopy Demo,” with the visitors putting on diffraction grating glasses to view the spectra of 4 gas discharge lamps set out on the table, including: hydrogen, helium, neon and mercury. The visitors were gone by around 8:00 p.m. after an enjoyable evening learning about astronomy and telescopes despite the cloudy, wet snowy weather. The observatory was closed down around 8:06 p.m.