Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 8th, 2015

Cloudy skies with later partial clearing greeted 18 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, August 8th, 2015, 8:30 p.m. Undergraduate student Ian Mulholland made 2 presentations of his digital slide presentation “Are We Alone?” RASC London Centre member Bob Duff counted 12 people in Ian’s first slide presentation and Ian counted 7 in his second presentation, including 3 repeats from the first presentation. Ian also counted 2 walk-in visitors who did not see the slide presentation bringing the total to some 18 visitors for the evening.

Graduate student and RASC London Centre member Emily McCullough was telescope operator for the evening and directed the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome towards the communications tower in south London. She also set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian on the roof patio outside the dome. Other RASC London members included Dale Armstrong, Peter Jedicke, Paul Kerans, Tricia Colvin, Mark Tovey and Mike Costa. London Centre member Richard Gibbens listened to the slide lecture. Physics and Astronomy Department Computer Resources person and RASC member Henry Leparskas was also there.

Although the tripod and wedge for the Schmidt-Cassegrain had been set up on the roof patio, Dale set up the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain on a table in the dome and spent the evening cleaning the exterior of the telescope’s corrector plate and objective lens of the 8X50mm finderscope with cotton swabs and a lens cleaning solution.

Emily spent the evening showing visitors the lights on the communications tower in south London and later, with some partial clearing in the clouds, a hazy view of Saturn, through the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X). On the roof patio Bob installed the 17mm Nagler eyepiece (66X) in the 25.4cm Dobsonian enabling visitors to view the wind turbine on the Engineering building and later the star Arcturus.

Heather MacIsaac, who has been bringing her telescope to the Cronyn Observatory and recently joined the RASC as an unattached member, set up her Go-To Celestron 90mm Maksutov telescope (32mm Plossl eyepiece, 39X) and showed people the TV screen visible through the Western Student Recreation Centre windows, the Canadian flag flying above Middlesex College to the north and the star Arcturus.