Partly cloudy later somewhat clearing skies greeted 6 visitors (3 adults and 3 children) of a private group for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, on Monday, December 5th, 2016, 7:30 p.m. Graduate student Kendra Kellogg began the slide presentation “Galaxies” a little early at 7:20 p.m. and fielded questions afterwards.
RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans, Norman McCall and Bob Duff. Kendra brought the visitors upstairs into the dome and showed them Mars, the 6-day-past-new Moon and the yellow and blue double star Albireo through the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X). Paul Kerans set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) and the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (12.5mm Ortho eyepiece, 160X). Paul showed the visitors the Moon, the North Star Polaris, the Pleiades (M45) and the Orion Nebula (M42) through the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X).
Norm McCall showed the visitors the Moon through the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain, using the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (160X), early in the evening. Bob Duff later replaced the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece with the 20mm Plossl eyepiece (100X) in the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain for a better view of the Moon which was frequently obscured by moving clouds. Everett later helped 2 of the visitors take pictures of the Moon with their smartphones through the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain, using the observatory’s iOptron Smartphone adapter.
Paul showed the visitors his chondrite (stony) and iron meteorites as well as his Moon meteorite sample in a small plastic display case. Paul had placed his lunar meteorite sample display case in a wooden block with a transparent Lexan polycarbonate sheet cover and he invited visitors to “walk on the Moon.” Everett distributed 3 “Star Finder” planispheres to the children. The visitors were gone by around 9:00 p.m. after an enjoyable evening of astronomy.