Summer Academic Writing Clinic, Evening Observing at the Cronyn Observatory, July 19th, 2017

Clear skies greeted 62 visitors (students and staff members) from the Summer Academic Writing Clinic for incoming first-year students, for evening observing at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Wednesday, July 19th, 2017, 8:30—11:00 p.m. Professor Robert Cockcroft made the digital slide presentation “Celestial Bear: The Six Nations’ Night Sky.” This was followed by the visitors dividing into groups for tours of the downstairs “Black Room” and “Period Rooms” and observing in the dome.

Downstairs in the “Black Room” Professor Jan Cami gave 2 demonstrations of the “Transit Demo” model—showing how the transit detection method worked for finding extra-solar planets, as well as 2 demonstrations of the “Spectroscopy Demo” with the visitors putting on diffraction grating glasses to view the spectra of 4 gas discharge lamps set out on the table, including: hydrogen, helium, neon and mercury. Jan also gave 2 tours of the historic “1940s Period Room,” a recreation of Dr. H. R. Kingston’s 1940 office and one tour of the “1967 Period Room” recreating the early control room of the Elginfield Observatory to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation—Canada 150. Both “Period Rooms” were designed by RASC London Centre member Mark Tovey.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Heather MacIsaac, Bob Duff and Paul Kerans. Graduate student Amanda DeSouza was telescope operator and, with some help from Bob, directed the big 25.4cm refractor (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 258X) in the dome towards Jupiter in the bright early evening sky, using hour angle and declination coordinates from the Starry Night Pro software on the computer. The students enjoyed good views of Jupiter through the 25.4cm refractor with the darkening evening sky.

There were 3 amateur telescopes set up on the observation deck outside the dome. Everett operated the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian showing visitors Jupiter and Saturn, using the 18mm Radian eyepiece (62X). Paul showed visitors Jupiter and Saturn and the galaxy M81 through his Celestron 9.25-inch (23.5cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain (Vixen SXD2 mount), using his 21mm Ethos (112X), 10mm Takahashi (235X) and 15mm LE Sky-Watcher (156X) eyepieces. Heather showed the visitors Jupiter and the yellow and blue double-star Albireo through her Go-To computerized Celestron NexStar 90SLT 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain, using a 17mm Plossl eyepiece (73.5X).

The students asked many good questions and were gone by around 11:00 p.m. after a very interesting and enjoyable evening of astronomy.