Exploring the Stars, London 88th Guide Unit, January 22nd, 2018

A cloudy sky with rain greeted 26 visitors (21 children and 5 adults) from the London 88th Guide Unit for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, January 22nd, 2018, 6:00 p.m. Graduate student Daniel Hatfield presented the digital slide presentation “The Scout / Guide Astronomy Badge” and fielded questions. Dan followed this with the activity “Kitchen Comet,” making a comet from dry ice and other materials.

This was followed by a tour of the dome and Dan demonstrated the big 25.4cm refractor. Since rainy weather ruled out opening the dome, RASC London Centre member Bob Duff gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) for demonstration. Bob also explained the Schmidt Camera and Cassegrain Reflector telescope piggy-backed on the 25.4cm refractor. He also explained the 2 clocks on the east wall of the observatory and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time.

Dan then brought everybody downstairs into the “Black Room” where he did the “Spectroscopy Demo,” with the visitors putting on the diffraction grating glasses to view the spectra of 4 gas discharge lamps set out on the table, including: hydrogen, helium, neon and mercury. The visitors were gone by around 8:05 p.m. after an interesting and enjoyable evening learning about astronomy, comets, telescopes and spectroscopy, despite the unfavourable weather.