Mostly cloudy skies greeted a private group of 24 visitors (18 children and 6 adults) for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, on Thursday, January 12th, 2017, 7:00 p.m. They were welcomed by graduate students Kendra Kellogg and Viraja Khatu. Kendra presented the slide presentation “The Earth Moon System” and fielded questions. Kendra and Viraja followed this with the “Star Finder” planispheres activity, distributing 16 “Star Finder” planispheres and showing the children how to assemble and use them. (There were only 16 planispheres distributed by Kendra since a lady visitor brought 2 additional planispheres from a previous event.)
RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Bob Duff. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a brief talk about the Cronyn Observatory and some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Bob also explained the 2 clocks on the east wall of the dome and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time. Everett set up the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (26mm Plossl eyepiece, 77X) inside the dome so as to view out the door to the roof patio and Bob supervised as the children viewed the TV screen through the windows of the Western Sports & Recreation Center. Everett also showed the visitors the full Moon, through the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X), as it appeared between the clouds.
Towards the end of the evening Kendra and Viraja introduced the “Crater Experiment” activity, which involved dropping various size balls into a pan of flour topped with chocolate powder, which was placed on the floor of the lecture room. Everybody was gone by around 9:00 p.m. after expressing their appreciation for a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.