Exploring the Stars, London District Catholic School Board Grade 7 Enrichment Class, Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

As reported by Paul Kerans,

Cloudy skies greeted 41 visitors (20 children and 21 adults) from the London District Catholic School Board Grade 7 Enrichment Class for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, March 23rd, 2017, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Kendra Kellogg presented the digital slide presentation “The Life and Times of Stars” and fielded questions. The visitors were then divided into 2 groups with the children going downstairs with Kendra into the “Black Room” for the“Transit Demonstration” activity and the adults upstairs for a tour of the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. The 2 groups then traded places, with Kendra showing each group the “Transit Demo” model—demonstrating the transit detection method for finding extra-solar planets.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Paul Kerans. When the adults arrived upstairs in the dome, Paul gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. He gave the same talk to the children when the the adults went downstairs for the“Transit Demo”demonstration. Paul also showed his meteorites to both groups, including the chondrite (stony) and iron meteorites as well as the Moon and Mars meteorite samples in small plastic display cases. This included the “walk on the Moon” with visitors invited to step on his lunar meteorite sample display case placed in a wooden block with a transparent Lexan polycarbonate sheet cover.

Since it was cloudy, the visitors were invited to view the communications tower in south London through the big 25.4cm refractor (28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X) in the dome. Everett set up the London Centre’s home-built 30.5cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 88X) on the roof patio for the visitors to view the wind turbine on the Engineering building. The visitors were very interested and were gone by around 8:15 p.m. after an enjoyable evening learning about the stars, the transit method for detecting extra-solar planets, meteorites and viewing through telescopes despite the cloudy sky.