Exploring the Stars, HIGH Day North, November 20th, 2017

A clear sky greeted 61 visitors (37 children and 24 adults) from the homeschool group, HIGH Day North, for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, November 20th, 2017, 6:00 p.m. They were welcomed by graduate students Amanda DeSouza and Daniel Hatfield. Amanda presented the digital slide presentation “Constellations” and fielded questions. The visitors were then divided into 2 groups, with one group going upstairs for observing in the dome with RASC London Centre members Everett Clark, later joined by Bob Duff, and the other downstairs into the “Black Room” for demonstrations of the “Transit Demo” and “Spectroscopy Demo.” The 2 groups then traded places between the dome and the downstairs “Black Room.”

Downstairs in the “Black Room” Amanda did the “Transit Demonstration” activity for the first group of visitors, showing them the “Transit Demo” model—demonstrating the transit detection method for finding extra-solar planets. The “Transit Demonstration” was not done for the second group of visitors. Amanda did the “Spectroscopy Demo,” for both the first and second groups, 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.

Upstairs in the dome, Everett operated the big 25.4cm refractor showing the first group of visitors the stars Vega (Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X) and Capella (52mm Erfle eyepiece, 84X), and the second group, Capella (52mm Erfle eyepiece, 84X) and Vega (Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X). Everett also 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. The visitors were gone by around 7:50 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening learning about astronomy and viewing through telescopes.