Exploring the Stars, London Waldorf School, January 23rd, 2013

A hazy cloudy sky greeted 23 visitors (14 children and 9 adults) from the London Waldorf School to the Cronyn Observatory for Exploring the Stars on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013, 7:00 p.m. Graduate students Emily McCullough and Ted Rudyk immediately brought them upstairs into the dome where Ted showed them Jupiter through the 25.4cm refractor. The 52mm (84X) and 32mm (137X) Erfle eyepieces were used with the big 25.4cm refractor. They caught Europa’s reappearance from eclipse behind Jupiter and Ted showed demonstrations of it on the computer using software programs “Celestia” and “Starry Night.”

Outside the dome on the roof patio Emily showed them the 5-day-past-first-quarter gibbous Moon through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). RASC London Centre member Everett Clark arrived early and assisted with setting up the telescopes and was joined around 7:00 p.m. by Bob Duff.

Bringing the group back downstairs, Ted and Emily had the children do a “Crater Drawing with Crayons” activity. This was followed by the “Crater Experiment” in which Emily demonstrated how craters were formed on the Moon by dropping small rocks into a pan of flour topped with cocoa powder, set up on the table at the front of the room. The children then did there own crater experiments in groups around 3 aluminum pans, one on the table and 2 on the floor.

Returning to the dome after these activities, Ted and Emily showed the visitors the Moon through the big 25.4cm refractor and Bob showed them Jupiter through the 25.4cm Dobsonian. Ted made a demonstration of the space simulation program “Celestia” on the dome computer, viewing Jupiter just above the surface of its moon, Europa. Emily gave a talk about the large photographic mosaic of the Moon, displayed in a picture frame, which she had brought out of storage.

Everybody went back downstairs where Emily distributed 13 “Moon Gazers’ Guide” cards and explained the Moon and its phases. The evening ended around 9:00 with everybody expressing deep satisfaction for an excellent evening of learning about astronomy.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre