Fanshawe Conservation Area Star Night, July 13th, 2013

Somewhat hazy skies greeted 5 RASC London Centre members with 5 telescopes for the star night at Fanshawe Conservation Area, Saturday, July 13th, 2013. The event was scheduled to start at dusk, around 9:00 p.m.

London Centre members present included Mike Roffey, with his 15 cm Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain on a Vixen Porta II mount; Gaetan Godin, with his homemade 20.3cm Dobsonian; Harold Tutt, with his Stellarvue Nighthawk 80mm refractor; Dave McCarter, with his 25.4cm Dobsonian; and Rob McNeil, with his Williams Optics 72mm refractor.

Dave McCarter reported presenting his slide talk, “The Telescope: Instrument of Discovery,” before an audience of around 50 people, many under the age of 15. Prior to starting his talk, Dave invited people to look at Venus, just above the treetops, and the Moon. Following the slide talk, they observed Saturn, M13, M27, M51 and M53, and, late in the evening, M31. They saw 2 Iridium flares, one predicted and one not, and several satellite passes.

Rob reported showing people the Moon in his Williams Optics 72mm refractor. Harold showed people Venus, Saturn and the Moon through his Stellarvue Nighthawk 80mm refractor, described how to locate the North Star and discussed several constellations. Gaetan showed people Venus, the Moon, Saturn and Albireo in his homemade 20.3cm Dobsonian. He also had them just scan the Milky Way in the telescopes. From 11:00 p.m. until midnight talked with 4 or 5 teenagers about the stars and how we know what we know about them.

They packed up after midnight after the conservation area officer handed out Upper Thames River Conservation Authority ball caps to every astronomer in attendance.  

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre