Exploring the Stars, École secondaire Mgr-Bruyère, November 13th, 2013

Hazy cloudy skies, with some clearing later, greeted 18 visitors (13 children and 5 adults) from the École secondaire Mgr-Bruyère Grade-9 class to the Cronyn Observatory for Exploring the Stars, Wednesday, November 13th, 2013, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Shannon Hicks made the digital slide presentation, “Our Messy Solar System,” and fielded questions from the class. She followed this with the activity, “Kitchen Comet,” inviting the students to the table at the front of the lecture room and making a comet with dry ice, dirt and other ingredients.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Bob Duff. Everett directed the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome towards the gibbous Moon, which made a fine site in the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X), through hazy clouds in the southeastern sky. Bob set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian with the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X) on the Observatory’s roof patio and directed it towards the Moon.

Shannon brought the group upstairs and Bob gave a brief talk about the history of the Cronyn Observatory and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor and explained the 2 clocks on the east wall of the dome and the difference between standard and sidereal time. Shannon then invited everybody to view the Moon in the 25.4cm refractor, through the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X). Bob also showed them the Moon through the 25.4cm Dobsonian, with the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). When everybody had observed the Moon, Everett redirected the big 25.4cm refractor and located the Double-Double star system Epsilon Lyrae, which was nicely resolved in the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (351X). The students then observed the star Vega through the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 18mm Tele Vue Radian eyepiece (244X). As the sky cleared Shannon showed them the Moon once again in the big 25.4cm refractor, which made a splendid view in the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X). Everett then swapped in the 52mm Erfle eyepiece (84X) for a view of the Moon’s entire gibbous disk.

Bob also showed them Vega in the 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). Bob also showed them the yellow and blue double star Albireo and the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) in the 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X).

Several people took RASC London Centre brochures and Cronyn Observatory information cards. Everybody was gone around 8:30 p.m. after expressing their appreciation and thanks for a very enjoyable and educational evening of astronomy.