Science Rendezvous at Western University, Saturday, May 13th, 2017

As Reported by Paul Kerans and Peter Jedicke

Mostly clear skies greeted an estimated 350—400 visitors to the Cronyn Observatory for Western University’s Science Rendezvous event on Saturday, May 13th, 2017, 2:00 p.m. There was an estimated total of close to 1,000 visitors in all for this first Science Rendezvous event at Western University.

Graduate students present included Viraja Khatu, Shannon Hicks, Dilini Subasinghe and Robin Arnason. Viraja and Shannon supervised as visitors viewed the communications tower in south London through the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) in the dome.

Visitors were given tours of the downstairs “Black Room” and “Period Room.” Robin did the“Transit Demonstration” activity in the “Black Room,” showing visitors the “Transit Demo” model—demonstrating the transit detection method for finding extra-solar planets. RASC London member Mark Tovey gave tours of the historic “Period Room” (designed by Mark) recreating Dr. H. R. Kingston’s 1940 office with his brass refractor and the Sotellunium—a mechanical eclipse demonstration model built by W. G. Colgrove—on display. Robin and Mark estimated some 200 visitors downstairs.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans, Heather MacIsaac, Peter Jedicke, Mark Tovey and Norm McCall. Recently retired staff member (and RASC member) Henry Leparskas was also there with his camera, taking pictures. Everett set up the observatory’s 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope (25mm eyepiece, 32X) on its Sky-Watcher EQ5 mount on the roof patio outside the dome and Paul supervised as a steady stream of visitors viewed prominences on the Sun. Heather showed visitors the Sun through her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov (32mm Plossl eyepiece, 39X) with a Kendrick Astro Baader film white-light solar filter. Peter Jedicke set up the Sunspotter (provided by Fanshawe College).

Norm McCall set up his Explore Scientific 152mm Maksutov-Newtonian Comet Hunter telescope—fitted with an Orion glass solar filter—on the north side near the main entrance to the observatory and showed visitors the Sun. Norm used an Explore Scientific 30mm eyepiece (24X) and Baader Hyperion Mark-III Zoom 8—24mm eyepiece, set at 24mm (30X) and 20mm (36X), with his 152mm Maksutov-Newtonian.

The sky was mostly clear early in the afternoon but gradually hazed over and was clouded out by 4:30 p.m. The Science Rendezvous event was over by around 5:00 p.m. and was a great success, inspiring curiosity in young people towards a science career.