Western University’s Department of Visual Arts, Cronyn Observatory Tours, March 2nd, 2017

The Apollo 11 landing on the Moon in 1969 and subsequent Apollo missions left various artifacts—ranging from flags and equipment to footprints by astronauts—on the lunar surface. NASA and some historical preservationists have called for declaring the Moon a World Heritage Site. Western University’s Department of Visual Arts explored this question with its exhibition “Protectorate 1: A Darker Side of the Moon” March 2nd—16th, 2017, held in the Artlab Gallery, John Labatt Visual Arts Centre, with the opening reception, Thursday, March 2nd, 2017, 5:00—7:00 p.m. The opening reception included tours of Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, 6:15—8:00 p.m.
Clear skies greeted 21 visitors for this Special Event at the Cronyn Observatory, including 19 people from the ArtLab Gallery exhibition in 2 groups of 12 and 7 people respectively. There were 2 additional guests, not associated with the ArtLab, who were also welcomed to the observatory. The Cronyn Observatory dome as well as the downstairs “Black Room” (with the “Transit Demo” model) and historic “Period Room” were open to the visitors. Graduate students Kendra Kellogg and Robin Arnason welcomed the visitors and Professor Robert Cockcroft showed 5 people from the second group around the “Period Room” but did not demonstrate the“Transit Demo” in the “Black Room.”

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans and Bob Duff. Robin Arnason showed visitors the 4-day-past-new crescent Moon and the planet Venus through the big 25.4cm refractor (28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X) in the dome. On the roof patio outside the dome Paul showed the visitors Venus—which appeared as a nice crescent—and the Orion Nebula (M42) and Everett showed them the Moon through the London Centre’s home-built 30.5cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 88X). Everett also showed and explained to visitors the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain set up without its tripod on the table inside the dome near the window on the north side.

Paul showed the visitors his chondrite (stony) and iron meteorites as well as his Moon and Mars meteorite samples in small plastic display cases. Paul had placed his lunar meteorite sample display case in a wooden block with a transparent Lexan polycarbonate sheet cover so that visitors could “walk on the Moon.” The visitors were gone by 8:00 p.m. after an enjoyable evening of astronomy under clear skies.
For more information on Western University’s Department of Visual Arts exhibition see the Department’s News & Events Web page: Protectorate 1: A Darker Side of the Moon / Artlab: https://www.uwo.ca/visarts/ news/2017/01_03- ALProtectorate.html