Exploring the Stars, Space Invaders, Friday, May 11th, 2018

Cloudy skies and rain greeted 20 visitors of the group Space Invaders, including 11 adults and 9 children (ages 6—14), for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Friday, May 11th, 2018, 8:00 p.m. Graduate student Shannon Hicks presented the digital slide presentation “Our Solar System,” and fielded questions.

RASC London member Bob Duff set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) and the observatory’s Meade 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X) telescopes inside the dome, which remained closed due to rain. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome Bob gave a talk on the history and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) for demonstration. He explained the Schmidt camera and Cassegrain reflector telescope piggy-backed on the main telescope. He also showed them the 2 clocks on the east wall of the dome and explained the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time. Bob also explained the 25.4cm Dobsonian and the difference between a reflector and refractor telescope, and briefly showed them the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

Shannon then brought the group back downstairs into the lecture room where she did the “Crater Experiment” activity, placing 2 pans filled with flour and topped with chocolate powder on a table and inviting the children to drop various size balls into the pans to demonstrate impact cratering. The visitors were gone by around 9:45 p.m. after an enjoyable evening learning about astronomy and telescopes, despite the cloudy, rainy weather.