Exploring the Stars, Plenty of Fish, April 25th, 2013

Clear skies with some clouds greeted 16 visitors from the group Plenty of Fish for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, April 25th, 2013, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Emily McCullough made her digital slide presentation, “Neat Stuff Nearby in the Universe” before 15 people, soon joined by one more for a total of 16 visitors. After the slide presentation Emily used the space simulation program, “Celestia,” to demonstrate planetary orbits in the solar system, including Pluto and the other dwarf planets, comets and the Oort cloud.

Emily then distributed 16 “Star Finder” planispheres to the group and showed them how to use them. Later, upstairs in the dome, Emily gave one visitor 4 more to take home to family members, bringing the total number to 20 “Star Finder” planispheres distributed. Emily also gave out 2 “Moon Gazers’ Guide” cards and 2“Secrets of the Night Sky” (Canadian Space Agency) sky charts.

Everett Clark, Rob McNeil and Bob Duff represented the RASC London Centre. Everett used the sky charting software “Starry Night PRO” to obtain the celestial coordinates for Jupiter. Outside on the roof patio Rob and Bob searched for Jupiter with the 10 X 50mm binoculars in the bright sky before sunset. Everett and Rob directed the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome towards Jupiter using the setting circles. Eventually Jupiter was found using the binoculars in the dome and standing right behind the 25.4cm refractor. Bob soon found Jupiter in the big 25.4cm refractor around 8:16 p.m. and the visitors had good views of the planet through the 32mm Erfle (137X) and, later, 18mm Tele Vue Radian (244X).

Rob and Bob also found Jupiter with the binoculars on the roof patio and Bob located it with the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian. Jupiter with its 4 Galilean moons made a fine site in the Dobsonian with the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X).

The visitors were gone by around 9:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable and informative evening of astronomy. The rising full Moon was observed in both the Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) and the big 25.4cm refractor (18mm Tele Vue Radian eyepiece, 244X) in the dome later in the evening, after the visitors had left.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre