Mostly clear skies with a few clouds greeted 15 visitors (including 10 Grade 7-8 students and 5 adults) from Wilfrid Jury Public School for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Tuesday, March 31st, 2015, 6:00 p.m. Graduate student Parshati Patel made the digital slide presentation “Our Solar System” and fielded questions. Parshati followed this with the activity “Constellations,” distributing 10 “Star Finder” planispheres and showing the students how to assemble and use them. She showed several slides of constellation as well as the slide “Reading a Star Finder”.
RASC London Centre was represented by Bob Duff, Mark Tovey and Tricia Colvin. Mark arrived early and set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece) and the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain (12.5mm Ortho eyepiece, 160X) on the roof patio outside the dome. Mark also made ready the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a talk about the history of the Cronyn Observatory and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. Bob also explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall. Parshati and Bob then directed the big 25.4cm refractor towards the 4-day-past-first quarter gibbous Moon, which made a splendid sight in the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X). Parshati supervised as the visitors climbed a few steps of the observing ladder to view the Moon through the big 25.4cm refractor.
On the roof patio outside the dome Tricia showed the visitors Jupiter, the Moon and the star Betelgeuse in the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). Mark operated the 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain and showed them the Moon, using the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (160X), and then Venus, swapping in the 26mm Plossl eyepiece (77X) and then returning to the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (160X). The visitors were gone by around 8:25 p.m. after expressing their thanks for an enjoyable and informative evening of astronomy.