A partly cloudy sky greeted 31 visitors (25 children and 6 adults) from the Talbot Street Church GEMS for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, February 22nd, 2018, 7:10—8:45 p.m. Graduate student Jeff Vankerkhove presented the digital slide presentation “The Scout / Guide Astronomy Badge” and fielded questions. Jeff followed this with the activity “Telescope Kits,” showing several slides about telescopes and having the children assemble and test simple telescopes from small reusable kits.
RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Heather MacIsaac, Henry Leparskas and Bob Duff. Henry made ready the big 25.4cm refractor (Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X) and Jeff supervised as the visitors viewed the one-day-prior-to first quarter Moon—visible through thin, hazy, moving clouds. On the observation deck outside the dome, Bob showed them the Moon through the London Centre’s home-built 30.5cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 88X) and Heather showed them the Moon through her Celestron NexStar 90SLT 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain (32mm Plossl eyepiece, 39X).
Following the observing session, Henry did a demonstration in the lecture room of the Sotellunium—a mechanical eclipse demonstration model built by W. G. Colgrove—which he brought upstairs from the “1940s Period Room,” where it was on display. The visitors were gone by around 8:45 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening learning about astronomy and looking through telescopes.