Exploring the Stars, Huron University College Residences, October 23rd, 2013

Graduate student Shannon Hicks began her digital slide presentation “Alien Life in the Universe” with 6 students from Huron University College Residences, Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013, 7:00 p.m. Another student arrived during the presentation bringing the number to 7 and finally one more joined the group in the dome towards the end of the evening for a total of 8 visitors. The students asked thoughtful questions during Shannon’s presentation and discussion.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Bob Duff. Everett made ready the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and Bob assisted with locating the Double-Double star system Epsilon Lyrae, which was nicely resolved in the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (258X). Clouds moving in from the west temporarily obscured Epsilon Lyrae and as they began to clear Bob called everybody’s attention to the International Space Station (ISS) pass (7:48—7:52 p.m.) which appeared in the northwest and reached an altitude of 36 degrees in the north northeast before vanishing into the clouds. After viewing Epsilon Lyrae, Everett later showed the visitors Vega through the 25.4cm refractor, using the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (351X).

Bob set up the RASC London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, with the 18mm Tele Vue Radian eyepiece (62X) and showed visitors the Ring Nebula (M57) and the Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Bob called their attention to M32, a smaller satellite galaxy to the left of M31 in the telescope’s field of view. Bob also showed them the yellow and blue double star Albireo in the 25.4cm Dobsonian (62X).

Since one student left early and another joined the group later in the dome, there were in all 8 visitors but only 7 at the end of the evening. Shannon distributed 7 “Star Finder” planispheres to this group and showed them how to assemble and use them. It was a very enjoyable and informative evening or astronomy.