X-treme Science Camp: Solar Observing at the Cronyn Observatory, August 8th, 2016

Clear skies greeted 35 visitors, including 31 children (ages 8—14 years) and 4 adults / leaders from the X-treme Science Camp (Boys and Girls Club of London), for solar observing at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, August 8th, 2016, 11:00 a.m. They were welcomed by graduate student Dilini Subasinghe and Physics and Astronomy staff member Henry Leparskas.

RASC London Centre was represented by Paul Kerans, Heather MacIsaac and Bob Duff. Henry set up both the observatory’s 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope (Sky-Watcher EQ5 mount) and 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, with the Kendrick Astro Baader film solar filter, on the roof patio outside the dome. Henry gave a telescope talk in the dome. The children were divided into 3 groups to view through the telescopes.

Paul showed the children the Sun through the 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope, using the CEMAX 12mm eyepiece (66.7X). Seeing conditions were good with prominences visible on the edge of the Sun as well as filaments and granulation noticeable on the solar surface. Dilini showed the children sunspots on the Sun through the 20.3cm Schmidt-Cassegrain (18mm Radian eyepiece, 111X) with the Kendrick Astro solar filter. Heather MacIsaac showed the children the Sun through her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov (32mm Plossl eyepiece, 39X) with a Kendrik Astro solar filter.

Downstairs in the “Black Room” Dilini made 2 demonstrations of the “Transit Demo” model—demonstrating the transit detection method for finding extra-solar planets—and Henry gave 2 tours of the historic “Period Room,” which featured the “Sotellunium” mechanical eclipse demonstration model and Dr. H. R. Kingston’s brass refractor telescope.

The children and their leaders were gone by around 12:08 p.m., after a very interesting and enjoyable observatory tour and opportunity to view the Sun through solar filtered telescopes.