Mostly clear skies greeted 40 visitors from Western Law – Student Legal Society for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Wednesday, March 26th, 2014, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Parshati Patel made the digital slide presentation Life in the Universe and fielded questions. She immediately followed this with the activity Kitchen Comet making a comet from dry ice and other ingredients on a table at the front of the lecture room.
Everett Clark and Bob Duff represented the RASC London Centre. Everett made ready the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) on the roof patio, directing it towards the weathervane on the Engineering building. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk about the history of the Cronyn Observatory and the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. He also explained the 2 clocks on the east wall and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time.
As twilight deepened Everett began by showing the visitors Jupiter through the big 25.4cm refractor, first with the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) and later with the 18mm Tele Vue Radian eyepiece (244X). He used the 18mm Tele Vue Radian eyepiece (244X) to nicely split the double star Castor and also showed the visitors Sirius. Bob showed the visitors Jupiter, the Orion Nebula (M42), the Pleiades (M45) and star Betelgeuse through the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X). It was still twilight when Bob directed the 25.4cm Dobsonian from Jupiter to the Orion Nebula (M42) such that only the stars but not the nebulosity was visible. Only as the sky darkened did the nebula begin to appear.
The visitors were keenly interested in what they viewed through the telescopes and expressed their appreciation. They were gone by around 9:00 p.m. after a very interesting evening of astronomy.