Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

Partly cloudy skies greeted an estimated 130 visitors to the Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, July 23rd, 2016, 8:30 p.m. Postdoctoral fellow Anahi Granada made 3 presentations of her digital slide presentation “Stellar Winds.” Graduate students present included Matthew Shannon, who was telescope operator for the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome, Viraja Khatu, who greeted and directed visitors, and Rebecca Stabile. There were 56 visitors in the lecture room early in the first presentation and, with more people arriving, 116 visitors counted with an estimated total of perhaps 130 visitors for the evening.

RASC London Centre was represented by Paul Kerans, Bob Duff, Heather MacIsaac, Dale Armstrong, Peter Jedicke, Tricia Colvin and Mark Tovey, with Everett Clark arriving later around 10:45 p.m. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was there and listened to the slide lecture. Graduate student Matthew Shannon directed the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome, showing visitors Jupiter, using the 28mm Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece (157X). Peter Jedicke later directed the big 25.4cm refractor towards Saturn (157X) and Everett Clark swapped in the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X) for a better view at greater magnification.

On the roof patio outside the dome, Dale Armstrong operated the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, showing visitors Mars, using the 15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece together with the CEMAX 2X Barlow lens—borrowed from the observatory’s 90mm Coronado H-Alpha Solar Telescope—for a total magnification of 266X. Dale called people’s attention to the good view of features on Mars. Paul Kerans set up his 9.25-inch (23.5cm) Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain (Sky-Watcher EQ6 mount), showing visitors Mars, using his 21mm Ethos eyepiece (112X); and Saturn, globular cluster M13, the Ring Nebula (M57), and globular cluster M4, using his13mm Ethos eyepiece (181X); and the orange and blue double-star Albireo (112X). Heather MacIsaac showed visitors Mars and Saturn through her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov, using her 17mm Plossl eyepiece (73.5X).

A lady and a man brought their older model Meade 114mm, f/8, Newtonian reflector on an equatorial mount and RASC London Centre members helped them locate Mars, Saturn and the stars Mizar and Alcor.

Downstairs in the “Black Room” Tricia Colvin operated the “Transit Demo” model—demonstrating the transit detection method for finding extra-solar planets—and was later joined by Mark Tovey. Physics and Astronomy staff member Henry Leparskas gave tours of the historic “Period Room,” which featured the “Sotellunium” mechanical eclipse demonstration model and Dr. H. R. Kingston’s brass refractor telescope.

The visitors were gone by around 11:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.