Exploring the Stars, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School, October 17th, 2013

Graduate students Tony Martinez and Shannon Hicks greeted 30 visitors, including 21 children and 9 adults, from the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School Grade-9 class on Thursday, October 17th, 2013, 7:00 p.m. Tony made 2 digital slide presentations beginning with “The Stuff of Stars” and followed by “Galaxies.” The students asked informed and thoughtful questions.

Shannon made ready the big 25.4cm in the dome and was assisted by RASC London Centre members Everett Clark and Bob Duff. Since it was cloudy with rain showers, Everett set up the 25.4cm Dobsonian telescope (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) inside the door leading from the dome to the roof patio and Everett and Bob showed the visitors the weathervane on the Engineering building and the lights on the communications tower in south London. When it was not actually raining, Tony directed the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) towards the lights on the communications tower in south London and invited the visitors to view through the telescope. Bob gave a talk about the history and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor and explained the 2 clocks on the east wall of the dome and the difference between standard and sidereal time.

Everybody was gone by 8:45 p.m. with several students and parents as well as the teacher expressing their thanks. It was an enjoyable and informative evening of astronomy, despite the rainy weather.