Exploring the Stars, Masonville 77th, Beaver Scouts, February 3rd, 2016

Mostly clear sky with occasional cloudy periods greeted 32 visitors (19 children and 13 adults / leaders) from the Masonville 77th Beaver Scouts for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016, 6:00 p.m. Graduate student Shannon Hicks made the digital slide presentation “The Scout Astronomy Badge” and fielded questions. Shannon followed this with the activity “Crater Experiment”, inviting the children to the table she had set up at the front of the room where she had placed a pan filled with flour and chocolate powder. She demonstrated how meteor craters were formed on the Moon by dropping various size balls into the pan and then invited the children to line up in front of the table and take turns dropping balls into the pan to make their own meteor craters.

RASC London Centre was represented by Paul Kerans and Bob Duff. When everybody arrived upstairs Bob gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Bob also explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall. Shannon directed the big 25.4cm refractor (52mm Erfle eyepiece, 84X) in the dome to show visitors a flashing red light on the communications tower in south London. Bob operated the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian telescope (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X), which Paul had set up on the roof patio outside the dome, and showed the visitors the wind turbine on the Engineering building, the double star Castor and the star Capella, between clouds, and then the Orion Nebula (M42) as the sky cleared. Paul also set up his Nikon 10 X 50mm binoculars on his Orion Parallelogram Mount and tripod on the roof patio to show visitors views of the Western Sports and Recreation Centre and M42.

Paul brought an iron / nickel meteorite, which he showed to the children, and a small chondrite meteorite, which he showed to the adults. The visitors were gone by around 8:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.