Exploring the Stars, Exeter Christian Reformed Church Cadets and GEMS Clubs, March 9th, 2016

Hazy, cloudy skies greeted 38 visitors (27 children and 11 adults) from the Exeter Christian Reformed Church Cadets and GEMS Clubs for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Wednesday, March 9th, 2016, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Laura Lenkic presented the digital slide presentation for the “Girl Guide Astronomy Badge” (title slide “The Basics”) and fielded questions. Laura followed this with the “Constellations Activity”, distributing 38 “Star Finder” planispheres and showing the visitors how to assemble them with transparent adhesive tape. She then showed the visitors the slide “Reading a Star Finder” followed by one constellations slide from the astronomy software program “Stellarium” to help them learn how to use the planispheres.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans and Bob Duff. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk on some of the history of the Cronyn Observatory and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Bob also explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall. Everett directed the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) towards the star Capella, faintly visible through the hazy clouds, and swapped in the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X) to show the visitors a better view. On the roof patio outside the dome, Bob showed the visitors Capella through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). Paul set up his Nikon 10 X 50mm binoculars on his Orion Parallelogram Mount and tripod on the roof patio, but it was not used. Capella seemed to be the only star visible in the sky.

Paul showed visitors 4 meteorites that he had brought including a slice of the Gibeon iron meteorite he had purchased from the American Museum of Natural History in New York and a carbonaceous chondrite meteorite, as well as samples of Moon and Mars meteorites in small display cases. These Paul invited visitors to examine with his microscope set up beside the computer on the table inside the dome.

The visitors took 10 of the “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015]) pamphlet laid out by Everett beside the computer on the table in the dome. The visitors were gone by 8:30 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy, despite the hazy, cloudy sky.