International Observe the Moon Night, Cronyn Observatory, Saturday, October 28th, 2017

Partly cloudy, clearing skies, greeted visitors to the Cronyn Observatory for the 8th Annual International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN), Saturday, October 28th, 2017, 5:00—9:00 p.m. This event was hosted by Western University’s Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX), in partnership with the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Western Engineering’s Rocketry, the Canadian Lunar Research Network, the Planetary Society—London Chapter, and the London Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC London Centre).

The event organizer was Outreach Program Coordinator for Western University’s Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX) and Western University PhD graduate in astronomy, Parshati Patel. Graduate student Viraja Khatu helped plan the event, although she was not present. Cronyn Observatory Director Professor Jan Cami was there. Graduate student Amanda DeSouza gave out tickets for the Raffle Draw and counted visitors. The Planetary Society—London Chapter, Outreach Coordinator Kayle Hansen was at the welcome table.

The evening program included (1) Public Talks by Moon Experts, (2) Take a Trip to the Moon, (3) Edible Rock Analysis, (4) Lunar Puzzles, (5) Model Rockets, (6) Raffle Draw, and (7) Observing the Moon through Various Telescopes. There were an estimated 200 visitors (children and adults), including 140 people arriving, 5:00—7:00 p.m., based on the Raffle Draw ticket count by Amanda; and 50 more visitors counted at the door between 7:00—9:00 p.m.; plus a few more late arrivals for an estimated total of 200 visitors for the evening.

There were 3 digital slide presentations in the lecture room, 6:00—7:00 p.m., including (1) “CSI – Moon,” by Dr. Phil Stooke, (2) “How to Make a Moon: the Origin of Our Moon and Its Unique Formation,” by graduate student Patrick Hill, and (3) “Mapping the Lunar Surface,” by graduate student Zachary Morse.

Activities downstairs in the “Black Room” included the (1) “Edible Rock Analysis”; and the (2) Rocket Design / Launch Activity (run by Western University Engineering, Rocketry). Graduate student Elise Harrington demonstrated the “Sotellunium”—a mechanical eclipse demonstration model—as visitors explored the historic “1940s Period Room,” a recreation of Dr. H. R. Kingston’s 1940 office designed by RASC London Centre member Mark Tovey.

Graduate student Jeff Vankerkhove was telescope operator in the dome and began by directing the big 25.4cm refractor (Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X) to show visitors the communications tower in south London, and later the one-day-past-first-quarter Moon. RASC London Centre was represented by Peter Jedicke, Everett Clark, Steve Imrie, Norm McCall, Bob Duff (who arrived 6:45 p.m.) and youth member Jacob Renders, with his father. Steve showed visitors the Moon through the London Centre’s home-built 30.5 Dobsonian (18mm Radian eyepiece, 83X). Peter, Everett and Jacob took turns operating the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X), showing visitors the Moon. The observatory was closed down by around 9:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening for the visitors, observing through telescopes and learning about the Moon.