Exploring the Stars, London District Catholic School Board Gifted, April 9th, 2014

Clear skies greeted 44 visitors (22 children and 22 adults) from the London District Catholic School Board Gifted Grade-8 students for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Wednesday, April 9th, 2014, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Tony Martinez made his digital slide presentation Our Solar System — an updated version including material from the presentation The Small Bodies in Our Solar System — and then fielded questions. He then introduced the activity Constellations, with a demonstration of the sky charting software Stellarium. Tony then distributed 25 Star Finder planispheres and explained how to assemble and use them.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Bob Duff. Everett made ready the big 25.4cm refractor (18mm Tele Vue Radian eyepiece, 244X) in the dome and set up the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) on the roof patio and directed them both towards the 2-day-past-first-quarter gibbous Moon. Everett showed the visitors the Moon, Jupiter, Sirius, Mars and the double star Castor in the 25.4cm refractor, which made splendid sights through the 18mm Tele Vue Radian eyepiece (244X). Everett gave 6 Moon Gazers’ Guide cards to several visitors.

Bob began by showing the visitors the Moon through the 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). He then swapped in his 7mm Nagler eyepiece (159X) and showed several visitors the Moon before directing the Dobsonian towards Mars, Jupiter and finally, the double star Castor. Towards the end of the evening Bob swapped back in the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X) for a pleasing view of the Orion Nebula (M42) shared with Everett and Tony. Everybody was gone by around 9:00 p.m. after an excellent evening learning about astronomy and observing through telescopes under clear skies.