Exploring the Stars, Northdale Central Public School (Dorchester) January 15, 2014

Graduate student Tony Martinez made the digital slide presentation “Our Solar System” before 47 visitors (27 children and 20 adults) from Northdale Central Public School (Dorchester) Grade-6 class for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Wednesday, January 15th, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Bob Duff. Everett set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian on the roof patio outside the dome. Bob brought 82 “Star Finder” planispheres and 82 “Moon Gazers’ Guides” cards. Everett selected 28 “Star Finder” planispheres for the evening and placed the remaining 54 planispheres and 82 “Moon Gazers’ Guides” cards in the drawer of the sky chart display table in the dome. When the full Moon briefly appeared between the clouds, Everett alerted Tony and the group hastily came upstairs into the dome.

Everett directed the big 25.4cm refractor (32mmErfle eyepiece, 137X) in the dome towards the hazy full Moon, appearing briefly between clouds to the delight of the visitors. When the Moon finally vanished in the thickening clouds Everett redirected the telescope towards the communications tower in south London and Bob centred a flashing white light on the tower in the telescope’s field of view. Bob directed the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mmNagler eyepiece, 66X) towards the Moon, which was glimpsed briefly between clouds to the delight of the children and adults. When the Moon disappeared in thickening clouds Bob redirected the Dobsonian towards the weathervane on the Engineering building.

Bringing the group back downstairs at 8:20 p.m. Tony distributed the 28 “Star Finder” planispheres and, as Scotch tape was passed around, carefully explained to the students how to use them. Everybody was pleased with the evening’s events and most people were gone by 8:45 p.m., except for a few parents and children who remained behind to ask Tony and Bob questions. All the visitors were gone by 9:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening learning about astronomy.