Cloudy skies greeted 48 visitors for the Science Students’ Council Wellness Wednesday Event with Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Wednesday, March 4th, 2015, 6:00 p.m. Graduate student Shannon Hicks made the digital slide presentation “Life in the Universe” and fielded questions.
RASC London Centre was represented by Tricia Colvin, Bob Duff and Mark Tovey. Tricia arrived early and shovelled some of the snow off the roof patio outside the dome before setting up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome Bob gave a talk about the history of the Cronyn Observatory and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X). Bob also explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall. Shannon then opened the dome and directed the big 25.4cm refractor towards the red lights on the communications tower in south London. Bob assisted at the bottom of the ladder as the visitors climbed up to view the red lights on the tower.
Tricia and Mark showed them the wind turbine on the roof of the Engineering building to the south through the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). The Moon made a bright patch in the clouds for a while but never revealed itself. Most everybody was gone by 7:30 p.m. Bob showed a couple of girls the amateur telescopes stored in what used to be the dome “dark room” for developing film, including the 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, sometimes used for public nights, and the 90mm Coronado Hydrogen-Alpha Solar Telescope. The last visitors left by 8:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable and informative evening of astronomy, despite the cloudy sky.