Star Night, Eldon House, Canada Day, July 1st, 2015

On Canada Day, Wednesday, July 1st, 2015, Eldon House hosted a fundraising event with guests paying $70.00 for dinner and seats on the west lawn to watch the fireworks across the Thames River in Harris Park. Building on the success of the April 12th, 2015, celebration of 19th Century Star Gazing for Yuri Gagarin Night “Yuri’s Night” at London’s Eldon House, RASC London Centre member Mark Tovey coordinated the Star Night. The observing session was scheduled from 9:00—10:00 p.m., to be followed by viewing the fireworks, beginning at 10:00 p.m.

Mark set up his 8-inch (20.3cm) Celestron CPC 800 GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain on the south lawn as the guests enjoyed dinner on the south porch. Mark and RASC London Centre member Tricia Colvin (who helped the team acquire Venus before it was readily visible) operated the Schmidt-Cassegrain for the evening. They were joined by Patrick Whelan, with his 10-inch (25.4cm) Meade LXD75 Schmidt-Newtonian on a homebuilt Dobsonian mount; and Roman Dubinski, with his Sky-Watcher 127mm Maksutov on a Vixen alt-azimuth mount. They were assisted by London Centre member Bob Duff, later joined by Dale Armstrong and Scott Vodon. Mark’s mother Mrs. Tovey was there along with Roman’s wife and Patrick’s daughter Bridget.

Early in the evening, while the sky was still bright, Tricia and Mark, and Roman directed their telescopes east and showed some of the guests the lettering and Canadian flag emblem high up on the Richard Pierpoint Building. It was appropriate for Canada Day and a delight for people who had never viewed through a telescope before.

Dale brought his digital camera and tripod and took many pictures of the telescopes set up on the lawn and of Eldon House, without a flash. Some 30—35 guests enjoyed viewing Venus and Jupiter in hazy skies and through tree branches. They later also viewed Arcturus. A few visitors viewed Saturn and its moon, Titan, in Patrick’s 10-inch (25.4cm) Schmidt-Newtonian before the southern sky clouded over. The event was over by around 10:20 p.m. with many of the guests expressing their appreciation and returning for a second view through the telescopes. Fireworks continued for some time with the last RASC London Centre members leaving by around 11:00 p.m.