Star Night, Fanshawe Conservation Area, Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

as Reported by Norman McCall

Clear skies and some 20 guests welcomed RASC London Centre members Everett Clark, Gaetan Godin and Norman McCall who arrived around 8:15 p.m. for the Star Night at Fanshawe Conservation Area, Tuesday, July 5th, 2016.

Gaetan Godin set up his home-built 20.3cm Newtonian reflector (Sky-Watcher NEQ6 PRO SynScan mount); Everett Clark, his 114mm Tasco Newtonian reflector (Super Polaris mount); and Norman McCall, his 25.4cm (f/4.5) Meade DS-10 Newtonian reflector. Gaetan gave a presentation on the different types of telescope and their use. An Android astronomy software application was demonstrated which showed the night sky. There were a few questions asked including: what was the most memorable experience at the telescope, and another by a 5 or 6 year old girl, who asked what added advantage a telescope gave over binoculars.

Gaetan showed about 20 people the setting Sun—visible as a circular disk of light peeking out among tree branches on the western horizon—through his 20.3cm Newtonian, using a Kendrick Astro Baader film solar filter. While it was still dusk Gaetan tracked objects manually for viewing. Gaetan polar aligned the mount when Polaris became visible and was then able to use the SynScan computer system to Go-To Jupiter, Mars and Saturn, using his 32mm Antares Erfle (37.5X) and 17mm Hyperion (71X) eyepieces for viewing.

Everett Clark showed people Jupiter, Mars and Saturn through his 114mm Newtonian reflector. Norman McCall showed people Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Arcturus through his 25.4cm Meade DS-10 Newtonian reflector, using his 20mm Explore Scientific eyepiece (57X) and doubling the magnification with the addition of a 2X Barlow lens (114X). There were a number of very interested children and adults who asked good questions.

There were some 25—30 people in attendance and planetary observing did not begin until around 9:30 p.m. due to the long dusk period. The star night ended shortly after 11:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.