Cloudy skies and hazy damp weather greeted 25 visitors from the Indigenous Services Mini-University for evening observing at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, July 24th, 2017, 9:00 p.m. Professor Robert Cockcroft presented the digital slide presentation “Water in the Universe” and fielded questions. Graduate student Amanda DeSouza was telescope operator for the evening and took everybody upstairs into the dome after the slide presentation.
RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark and Bob Duff. Cloudy damp weather ruled out opening the dome. Everett set up the observatory’s Meade 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain inside the dome so as to view out the door to the observation deck. He installed the 20mm Plossl eyepiece (100X) in the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain and centered the red lights on the communications tower in south London in the field of view. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Amanda gave a talk about the 25.4cm refractor and explained the difference between a refractor and reflector telescope, calling their attention to the Schmidt-Cassegrain as an example of a reflector telescope. The visitors asked questions and 2 people looked at the communications tower through the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain.
Everybody then went downstairs into the “Black Room,” where Professor Robert Cockcroft showed them the “Transit Demo” model—demonstrating the transit detection method for finding extra-solar planets—and the “Spectroscopy Demo” inviting the visitors to put on diffraction grating glasses and view the spectra of 4 gas discharge lamps set up on the table, including: hydrogen, helium, neon and mercury.
Everybody was gone by a little after 10:00 p.m., after a very enjoyable evening learning about astronomy despite the cloudy weather.