Exploring the Stars, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School, April 6th, 2017

Cloudy skies with rain, later changing to wet snow, greeted 11 visitors (including 9 students, one teacher and one parent) from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School Grade-10 Science class, for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, April 6th, 2017, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Jeff Vankerkhove presented 2 digital slide presentations, including “Black Holes” followed by “Telescopes” and fielded questions. Jeff followed this with the activity“Telescope Kits” showing the slide “Telescope Activity” and distributing simple telescopes, already assembled from the small reusable kits, for the students examine and answer question.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Bob Duff. Rainy weather ruled out opening the dome. Everett set up the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X) inside the dome so as to view the TV screen in the Western Sports & Recreation Center through the door to the roof patio. When the visitors arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Bob also explained the Cassegrain Reflector telescope and Schmidt Camera piggy-backed on the 25.4cm refractor as well as the 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope set up inside the dome. He also explained the 2 clocks on the east wall of the observatory and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time.

The students viewed the TV screen in the Western Sports & Recreation Center through 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain. The visitors left the dome around 8:30 p.m. and were gone from the observatory by 9:00 p.m. after a very interesting evening learning about black holes and telescopes, despite the rain and wet snow.