Clear skies greeted some 35 (30—40) visitors to the Western University Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Monday, April 9th, 2018, 8:00 p.m. They were welcomed by graduate students Amanda DeSouza and Richard Bloch. Since there was no slide presentation, Amanda directed visitors upstairs into the dome and downstairs into the “Black Room” and “Period Rooms.” RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Henry Leparskas, Peter Jedicke, Mark Tovey and Bob Duff.
Downstairs in the “Black Room” Amanda DeSouza and Richard Bloch did presentations of the “Spectroscopy Demonstration,” with the visitors putting on diffraction grating glasses to view the spectra of 4 gas discharge lamps, including: hydrogen, helium, neon and mercury. Peter Jedicke gave tours of the historic “1940s Period Room,” a recreation of Dr. H. R. Kingston’s 1940 office, with his brass refractor and the Sotellunium—a mechanical eclipse demonstration model built by W. G. Colgrove—on display. Mark Tovey showed them 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 Mark Tovey.
Upstairs in the dome, Everett Clark operated the big 25.4cm refractor (Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece, 157X) and showed visitors the planet Venus, which appeared as a gibbous disk with orange and blue colour fringing due to atmospheric dispersion near the western horizon. Henry Leparskas pointed out Venus in the bright evening western sky to visitors on the observation deck. Bob Duff and Henry set up the London Centre’s home-built 30.5cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 88X) and took turns operating it for the evening. Bob showed visitors the star Sirius, as it appeared in the deepening twilight, and Henry showed them the Orion Nebula (M42) and the double star Mizar, and nearby Alcor, as the sky darkened.
Bob later assisted Everett with focusing the 25.4cm refractor on the double star Castor. Everett swapped in the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X) for a better view of Castor. The door to the observatory dome was closed to keep indoor warm air from smearing the image in the telescope. The view of Castor through the 25.4cm refractor with 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X) was very much improved. Some clouds appeared overhead towards the end of the evening. The visitors were gone by around 10:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.