First-Year Students Evening Observing at the Cronyn Observatory, August 3rd, 2016

Clear skies greeted visitors from the Summer Academic Writing Clinic for incoming first-year students, for evening observing at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016, 8:30—11:00 p.m. Professor Jan Cami made the digital slide presentation “Astronomy at Western” before an audience of 44 visitors and answered questions. Some 25—30 students arrived later in the evening, after the slide presentation, for an estimated total of 69—74 visitors.

Downstairs in the “Black Room” Jan made 3 demonstrations of the “Transit Demo” model—demonstrating the transit detection method for finding extra-solar planets—and one tour of the historic “Period Room,” which featured the “Sotellunium” mechanical eclipse demonstration model and Dr. H. R. Kingston’s brass refractor telescope.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans, Heather MacIsaac and Bob Duff. Everett and Physics and Astronomy staff member Henry Leparskas directed the big 25.4cm refractor (28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X) towards Jupiter early in the evening, using celestial coordinates provided by the software “Starry Night Pro” on the dome computer. They showed the visitors Jupiter (157X) and later Saturn and Mars, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (258X). Everett also set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) on the roof patio outside the dome.

Bob Duff operated the 25.4cm Dobsonian, showing the students Mars, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X), later swapping in the 6mm Ortho eyepiece (186X) for a better view at greater magnification. Bob then showed the students Saturn, and the stars Mizar and Alcor and Antares, using the 18mm Radian eyepiece together with the CEMAX 2X Barlow lens—borrowed from the observatory’s 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope—for a total magnification of 124X.

Paul Kerans set up his 9.25-inch (23.5cm) Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain (Sky-Watcher EQ6 mount), showing the students Mars and Saturn, using his Celestron 10mm Axiom LX eyepiece (235X); and the Ring Nebula (M57) and the orange and blue double-star Albireo, using his 13mm Ethos eyepiece (181X). Heather MacIsaac showed the students Mars and Saturn through her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov, using her 17mm Plossl eyepiece (73.5X).

The students were gone by 10:15 p.m. after a very interesting and enjoyable evening of astronomy. After the visitors had gone, Paul placed his Celestron 10mm Axiom LX eyepiece in the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome for an excellent high magnification view of Saturn (438.6X).