Exploring the Stars, Northdale Central Public School, January 29th, 2013

Cloudy skies and rain greeted 44 visitors (26 children and 18 adults) from the Grade-6 class of Northdale Central Public School in Dorchester, to the Cronyn Observatory for Exploring the Stars on Tuesday, January 29th, 7:00 p.m. They were welcomed by graduate students Emily McCullough and Parshati Patel. Emily made the digital slide presentation, “The Solar System.”

This was followed this with the activity, “Kitchen Comet.” Emily and Parshati invited the students to the table at the front of the lecture room and involved the children in making a comet from dry ice, water and other ingredients, including non-toxic glue (hydrocarbons). Clouds of CO2 vapour made for a convincing comet.

Bringing the group upstairs Emily gave them a tour and demonstration of the big 25.4cm refractor. She rotated the dome but did not open it because of the rain. Since the communications tower in south London was not visible in the haze, RASC London Centre Everett Clark directed the Observatory’s Meade 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain out the door and towards the television screen (showing weather information) in the Western Student Recreation Centre. RASC London Centre member Bob Duff showed the students views through the Schmidt-Cassegrain, which was fitted with the 26mm Plossl eyepiece (77X).

Bringing the group back downstairs to the lecture room around 8:30 p.m., Emily finished up the evening with a talk about university studies and her work as a graduate student in astronomy. There were thoughtful questions from students and the visitors expressed their deep appreciation for a very interesting and informative evening. Everybody was gone by around 9:00 p.m.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre