Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 19th, 2017

Clear skies greeted some 228 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, August 19th, 2017, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Josh Hedgepeth made 4 presentations of his digital slide presentation “Ocean Worlds” and fielded questions. McMaster University undergraduate student Ian Fare was “crowd manager” and counted 181 visitors by 9:37 p.m., 212 by 10:02 p.m. and 226 by 10:45 p.m., with 2 more arrivals for a total of 228 by 10:54 p.m.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Steve Imrie, Bob Duff, Heather MacIsaac, Paul Kerans, Mark Tovey and Edith Tovey. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was also there and listened to the slide lecture. Undergraduate student Roy Zang was telescope operator and, with assistance from Heather and Everett, showed visitors Jupiter through the 25.4cm refractor, using the Meade 28mm Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X), and later the double star Mizar and nearby Alcor, using the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (258X). Everett and Bob later located the “Double-Double” star system Epsilon Lyrae directly overhead with the big 25.4cm refractor and Everett swapped in the Sky-Watcher 15mm UltraWide eyepiece (292X) to nicely split the double components.

There were 3 amateur telescopes set up on the observation deck outside the dome. Steve Imrie operated the London Centre’s home-built 30.5cm Dobsonian, showing visitors Jupiter and Saturn, using the 18mm Radian eyepiece (83X), later swapping in the 12.5mm Ortho eyepiece (120X) for a better view of Saturn. Steve later showed visitors the Mizar and Alcor through the 30.5cm Dobsonian (83X). Paul Kerans set up his Celestron 9.25-inch (23.5cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain on his equatorial mount and showed visitors Saturn and the Owl Cluster (NGC 457), using the 28mm eyepiece (84X) and Sky-Watcher LE 15mm eyepiece (156.6X); and the Ring Nebula (M57) and the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), using the 28mm eyepiece (84X). Heather MacIsaac showed visitors Saturn through her Celestron NexStar 90SLT 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain (17mm Plossl eyepiece, 73.5X). Heather also showed visitors her pinhole projection shoebox and how to use it to view the upcoming Solar Eclipse, August 21st, 2017, safely.

Mark Tovey, gave tours of the historic “1940s Period Room,” a recreation of Dr. H. R. Kingston’s 1940 office—featuring the “Sotellunium” mechanical eclipse demonstration model made by Rev. W. G. Colgrove, and Dr. H. R. Kingston’s brass refractor telescope—and 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.

There were 18 solar eclipse glasses (10 and 8 by Everett Clark and Bob Duff respectively) distributed to visitors who requested them. Everett also gave out 2 “Star Finder” planispheres. The observatory was closed down around 11:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy under very clear skies.