International Observe the Moon Night, September 22nd, 2012

Despite clouds and rain showers the International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) went well at the Cronyn Observatory, Saturday, September 22nd, 6:00—10:00 p.m. Western University’s Centre for Planetary Science & Exploration (CPSX) Public Outreach Coordinator, Dr. Alyssa Gilbert greeted visitors with the Earth / Moon digital slide presentation from the Exploring the Stars program around 6:30 p.m. Planetary Science undergraduate student Michael Bramble and Western alumni Amanda Papadimos assisted. Because of poor weather, all 3 prizes were raffled off around 8:30 p.m.

More than 50 “Moon Gazers’ Guide” cards (20.3cm X 23cm) from RASC National Office and provided by the London Centre were popular with visitors. They had almost run out when Bob Duff arrived around 8:00 p.m. with 50 more “Moon Gazers’ Guide” cards and a dew shield for the Observatory’s Schmidt-Cassegrain, donated by the RASC London Centre. The lecture room was crowded when Bob arrived and there were more people upstairs in the dome. Following Alyssa’s presentation, Dr. Phil McCausland from CPSX made his digital slide presentation, “Observing the Moon *Up Close*: Lunar Meteorites and Samples!” He also had three lunar meteorites available to show the visitors and a number of others for viewing. The lunar meteorites NWA 2727, NEA 001 and DaG 400 were all from North Africa, on loan from meteorite collector David Gregory.

The Cronyn Observatory dome was closed earlier in the evening due to rain. However, the clouds cleared and Dr. Jan Cami directed the big 25.4cm refractor towards the brilliant first quarter Moon, which made a fine sight in the 52mm Erfle eyepiece (84X). As visitors lined up to view the Moon Dave McCarter arrived and quickly set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian. The Moon made a pleasing image in the Dobsonian with the 18mm Radian eyepiece (62X). Dave also used the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (89X) but the view through the 18mm Radian was better. He also showed visitors M57 and Epsilon Lyrae but was clouded out before he could locate M13. Phil McCausland brought his 11 X 80 mm binoculars and set it up on a low tripod to allow as many children as possible to view the Moon.

Bob set up the Observatory’s Meade 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain and showed visitors the Moon, which was a pleasing sight through the 26mm Plossl eyepiece (77X). The 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (160X) also gave a good image but seeing conditions seemed to favour the lower magnification of the 26mm Plossl.

People asked questions and the astronomers talked at length about the Moon and its features seen through the telescopes. The Observatory was closed down a little after 10:00 p.m. after a very successful evening and Alyssa estimated there were 120—130 visitors.

Bob Duff
Higher Education Liaison
RASC London Centre