Exploring the Stars, Mother Teresa Secondary School, April 17th, 2012

Graduate student Emily McCullough made the digital slide presentation, Exploring the Universe with Telescopes, before 53 visitors (48 children and 5 adults) from Mother Teresa Secondary School at the Cronyn Observatory for Exploring the Stars, Tuesday, April 17th, 7:00 p.m. The group was mostly grade-9 students plus a select few from the grade 12 Space and Earth Science course. There were also several younger children.

Emily followed her slide presentation with the activity, Telescope Kits, and had the students organized in groups of 3 to assemble the cardboard telescopes. They viewed through them in the lecture room and later upstairs on the roof patio.

Upstairs in the dome RASC London Centre member Bob Duff directed the big 25.4cm refractor, with the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X), so that it was tracking with its clock drive on the planet Venus, visible as a bright crescent through hazy clouds moving in from the west. Emily invited everybody to observe Venus through the big telescope. She later redirected the 25.4cm refractor towards Mars for some pleasing views.

Bob also set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian on the roof patio and showed people Venus, using the 6mm Orthoscopic eyepiece (190.5X). He later showed them Mars as clouds cleared overhead towards the southeast.

Bob gave a RASC London Centre brochure to one of the 3 teachers leading the group and invited her to contact the London Centre regarding a star night. There was also one grade-12 girl who had a 6-inch (15cm) Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain and asked what she could observe in the sky and whether she could see all the Messier objects with her telescope. Bob listed a number of summer sky objects including M57, M13, the Double-Double Epsilon Lyrae, Albireo and M31, M32 and M110. He advised her that all the Messier objects could be seen in her telescope under a dark sky and gave her a RASC London Centre brochure and invited her to attend a meeting.

Everybody was gone by 9:35 p.m. after a really great evening of slides, telescope making and observing, despite some hazy clouds.