Mostly clear skies greeted 6 RASC London Centre members with 5 telescopes for the Star Night at Matthews Hall School in London, Tuesday, April 28th, 2015, 8:00 p.m. Norman McCall set up his Explore Scientific 152mm Maksutov-Newtonian Comet Hunter and was soon joined by Bob Duff with his 20.3cm Meade Starfinder 8 (203mm) Newtonian on its Dobsonian mount; and Dale Armstrong, with his 25.4cm Newtonian reflector on its alt-azimuth mount. Peter Jedicke arrived bringing Mark Tovey, with his 20.3cm Celestron CPC 800 GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain, and Ryan Fraser brought his 20.3cm Sky-Watcher Dobsonian.
The Star Night involved the whole school from JK to Grade-8 and outdoor lighting was turned off for better viewing through telescopes. There were an estimated 100 enthusiastic children and parents lining up to view through the telescopes asking many informed and thoughtful questions. Bob began by showing a few people the 3-day-past-first-quarter gibbous Moon in his 203mm Dobsonian telescope, with a Meade MA25mm eyepiece (49X) and soon swapped in his 7mm Nagler eyepiece (174.3X) for a better view. The children and adults were impressed by the craters and other remarkable detail visible on the Moon’s surface. Bob then showed them Venus and Jupiter, which were an excellent view in his telescope, using the 7mm Nagler eyepiece (174.3X). Venus appeared brilliant white at half phase and Jupiter was impressive with the cloud belts visible on its surface and the 4 Galilean moons arrayed to the east of the planet. Bob directed his telescope towards the Moon again near the end of the evening, which made an excellent view in the 7mm Nagler eyepiece (174.3X).
Norman McCall showed them the Moon and Jupiter as well as the Beehive star cluster (M44) in his Explore Scientific 152mm Maksutov-Newtonian Comet Hunter telescope. Dale Armstrong showed them the Moon, Jupiter and Venus in his 25.4cm Newtonian reflector (with the aid of a step ladder provided by the school). Mark showed them Jupiter in his 20.3cm Celestron CPC 800 GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain and viewed the Moon himself. Ryan Fraser showed them Venus and Jupiter in his 20.3cm Sky-Watcher Dobsonian.
Everybody was gone by around 10:20 p.m. and the RASC London Centre members packed up their telescopes to leave after a very successful and very much appreciated school star night.