Clear skies greeted 47 visitors (including 26 children and 21 adults) from Louise Arbour French Immersion Public School, Grade 6 class, for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, November 17th, 2016, 6:00 p.m. Graduate student Robin Arnason presented the digital slide presentation “Black Holes” and fielded questions. Robin followed this with the activity “Galaxy Sorting.”
RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans and Bob Duff. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a brief talk about the Cronyn Observatory and some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Bob also explained the 2 clocks on the east wall of the dome and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time.
The visitors were then divided into 2 groups to view through the big 25.4cm refractor and the 2 amateur telescopes set up on the roof patio outside the dome. Robin and Everett showed the visitors Mars through the 25.4cm refractor, using the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X). Bob showed them the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), the Owl Cluster (NGC457) and the yellow and blue double star Albireo through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). Paul showed them the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), Uranus, Neptune and the Ring Nebula (M57) through his 9.25-inch (23.5cm) Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain (Vixen equatorial mount), using his 28mm eyepiece (84X).
Towards the end of the evening Robin, Bob and Paul tried to locate M57 with the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome, but the city brightened sky made it difficult to see the faint stars in the constellation Lyra. Bob finally directed the 25.4cm refractor towards the “Double-Double” star system Epsilon Lyrae, swapping in the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X), which nicely resolved the 2 binary stars. It was a pleasing view for the few remaining visitors. The observatory was closed when the last visitors left around 8:00 p.m., after an excellent evening of astronomy.