Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Cloudy, later partly clearing hazy skies greeted some 42 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, May 21st, 2016, 8:30 p.m. Professor Paul Wiegert presented the digital slide presentation “Constellations” before some 33 visitors. There were 9 additional people who went directly upstairs into the dome for a total of 42 visitors for the evening.

This was the weekend of the RASC General Assembly, May 19th—23rd, 2016, and AstroCATS telescopes display being held at Fanshawe College. RASC London Centre was represented at the Cronyn Observatory by Patrick Whelan, Mark Tovey, Tricia Colvin, Heather MacIsaac and Bob Duff, who was there between 9:15 and 10:15 p.m.

Professor Jan Cami gave tours of the observatory including the downstairs “Black Room,” with the “Transit Demo” model set up, and the “Period Room,” with displays including Dr. H. R. Kingston’s brass refractor telescope and the Sotellunium—a mechanical eclipse demonstration model—built by W. G. Colgrove. (The “Period Room” recreated H. R. Kingston’s office, based on a photograph from 1940, and was designed by RASC London Centre member Mark Tovey for the Cronyn Observatory’s 75th Anniversary, celebrated October 24th / 25th, 2015.) Mark and Tricia were in the “Period Room” and Mark was dressed in his Dr. H. R. Kingston attire and seated at Kingston’s desk as Jan gave his tour. Bob Duff took pictures of the “Transit Demo” in the “Black Room” and spoke with Mark and Tricia in the “Period Room.”

Graduate student Neven Vulic was telescope operator in the dome and, with Bob’s assistance, soon swapped in the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) in place of the 52mm Erfle eyepiece (84X) to give visitors a better view of Jupiter. Undergraduate student William Hyland was also present. Professor Jan Cami installed the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X) with the 1.25-inch adapter. This made it easier for him to switch between the 18mm Radian and the 1.25-inch diameter eyepiece of the iOptron cell phone adapter to take pictures with visitors’ cell phone cameras through the 25.4cm refractor.

On the roof patio outside the dome Patrick Whelan operated the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (18mm Radian eyepiece, 62X) and showed visitors Jupiter, appearing intermittently between clouds, as well as Mars and the full Moon. The Moon showed little detail being low in the eastern sky and behind clouds. Heather MacIsaac showed visitors Jupiter through her Celestron Go-To 90mm Maksutov telescope (17mm Plossl eyepiece, 73.5X). The Cronyn Observatory closed down around 10:30 p.m. after an interesting and enjoyable evening of astronomy.