Exploring the Stars, Kirkton Guides, December 1st, 2015

Cloudy rainy skies greeted 33 visitors, including 19 children (17 girls and 2 boys) and 14 adults (including 2 leaders) and not including one infant, from the Kirkton Guides for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Tuesday, December 1st, 2015, 6:00 p.m. Graduate student Kendra Kellogg presented the digital slide presentation “Girl Guide Astronomy Badge” and fielded questions. Kendra followed this with 2 activities, including the “Constellations” and “Crater Experiment” activities, since rainy weather ruled out telescope observing. She distributed 25 “Star Finder” planispheres for the “Constellations” activity to all the children, 2 leaders and several parents, and showed them how to assemble and use them. For the “Crater Experiment” activity she invited the children to the table set up at the front of the lecture room and had them take turns dropping various size balls into a pan of flour topped with chocolate powder.

RASC London Centre was represented by Paul Kerans, Charlene Kerans and Everett Clark. Paul made a short presentation on the iron nickel meteorite he had brought along with specimens of Mars and Moon rocks in 2 small display cases. Paul and Kendra answered many questions. 

When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome Paul gave a talk about the history of the Cronyn Observatory and some technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor and the difference between a reflector and refractor telescope. Paul set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) inside the dome so as to view out the door and showed the visitors the wind turbine on the Engineering building. There were 10 “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015]) pamphlets distributed to interested visitors. Paul also handed out 2 “Moon Gazers’ Guide” cards. Charlene and Everett (who was at the computer in the dome) helped with questions. The visitors were gone by around 8:00 after a very enjoyable evening learning about astronomy even though the dome was not opened because of the weather.