Exploring the Stars, Northdale Central Public School, January 27th, 2015

Clear skies and cold weather greeted 42 visitors (22 children and 20 adults) from the Northdale Central Public School (Dorchester) Grade 5-6 class for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Tuesday, January 27th, 2015, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Tony Martinez made the digital slide presentation "The Solar System Including Small Bodies" and fielded questions.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Tricia Colvin, Mark Tovey and Bob Duff. Everett made ready the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X), directing it towards the one-day-past-first-quarter Moon. Tricia and Mark set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian on the roof patio outside the dome and Tricia located Comet Lovejoy, which made a fine sight in the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). Tricia, Mark and Everett also set up the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X) on the roof patio and Everett directed it towards Jupiter in the eastern sky. Jupiter made a fine site in the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain as it gradually rose above the billows of steam from the heating plant. The cloud belts on Jupiter’s surface were clearly visible along with the 4 Galilean moons—Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto—to the left (west) and from nearest to furthest from the planet.

When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. He also explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall. Bob then invited everybody to form 2 groups with one group going out on the roof patio to view Comet Lovejoy through the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X), supervised by Tricia, and Jupiter through the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X), supervised by Mark. The other group viewed the Moon through the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) in the dome, supervised by Everett. Everett soon swapped in the 52mm Erfle eyepiece, 84X) for a better view of the Moon. Towards the end of the evening Everett redirected the big 25.4cm refractor towards Jupiter and again swapped in the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) for a better view. The visitors thanked everybody before leaving around 9:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.