Partly cloudy, later clearing, skies greeted 10 visitors from the Space Society of London (Western University) for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, January 30th, 2017, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Kendra Kellogg presented the digital slide presentation “Life in the Universe” and fielded questions. Kendra followed this with the activity “Kitchen Comet,” making a comet from dry ice and other materials.
RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans and Rob McNeil. The skies cleared out around 7:30 p.m. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome Everett showed them the planets Venus and Mars through the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X). Venus appeared in its crescent phase. Paul showed the visitors the Orion Nebula (M42) through his 80mm Sky-Watcher refractor set up on his Vixen SXD2 equatorial mount, using the 26mm Tele Vue Plossl eyepiece (23X) from one of the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. Rob McNeil brought his Utopia 360 Virtual Reality headset and showed visitors the “Stellar Sky” VR app with an all-sky view of the night sky. The sky clouded over again around 9:00 p.m. and the visitors were gone after an enjoyable evening of astronomy.