Exploring the Stars, Saunders Secondary School, November 6th, 2014

Cloudy skies and rain greeted 14 visitors (including 9 children and 5 adults) from Saunders Secondary School (Grade-9) for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, November 6th, 2014, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Tony Martinez began with the activity “Kitchen Comet” explaining what a comet was and then making a comet with dry ice and other ingredients on a table set up at the front of the lecture room. He followed this with the digital slide presentation “The Life and Times of Stars” and fielded questions.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Bob Duff, Tricia Colvin and Mark Tovey. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. He also explained the 2 clocks on the east wall of the dome and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time. Since it was raining Everett set up the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) and Tricia and Mark set up the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X) inside the dome so as to view outside through the door to the roof patio. The visitors viewed a compressed gas canister visible in a window of the Engineering building through the 25.4cm Dobsonian and at the TV screen visible in the Western Student Recreation Centre windows through the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain.

Towards the end of the evening Everett showed 3 of the remaining visitors the optical tube of the 90mm Coronado Hydrogen-Alpha Solar Telescope and the Kendrick Astro Instruments Baader AstroSolar Film white-light solar filter used with the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain. Everett also distributed 4 “Star Finder” planispheres and 4 “Moon Gazers’ Guide” cards. There were also 2 solar eclipse glasses from the dome storage cabinet, one given to the visitors and another to Mark for solar observing. The event wrapped up around 8:30 p.m. after an interesting evening of astronomy despite the rainy weather.