Clear skies greeted 30 visitors (15 children and 15 adults) from the Montessori Academy of London (Oxford Street) for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Shannon Hicks made her digital slide presentation The Basics, presenting the basics of astronomy, and answered questions. She then introduced the activity Constellations, with parents helping to distribute 15 Star Finder planispheres to the children and taping them together with Scotch tape. Shannon showed the slide of a Star Finder planisphere and slides of constellations to help everybody learn how to use them.
RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Bob Duff. Everett made ready the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) on the Observatory’s roof patio, directing them both towards the crescent Moon while it was still daylight. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. He also explained the 2 clocks on the east wall and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time.
Everett and Shannon showed the visitors the crescent Moon and then Jupiter through the 25.4cm refractor, with the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X). Bob showed them the Moon through the 25.4cm Dobsonian, with the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). He then swapped in the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (89X) for views of the Moon and Jupiter with somewhat greater magnification.
Everybody was gone by 8:35 p.m. after a very enjoyable and educational evening learning about astronomy and observing the Moon and Jupiter through telescopes.