Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, May 30th, 2015

Cloudy skies and damp weather greeted 18 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, May 30th, 2015, 8:30 p.m. Professor Els Peeters made her digital slide presentation “Carbon and Our Cosmic Roots” before an audience of about 10 visitors (including 1 child). There were 4 visitors—a couple with 2 children—in the dome. More people arrived later in the evening, bringing the total to 18 visitors. Els made her presentation, which was about buckyballs in space, briefly a second time for another interested visitor. (Buckyballs are spherical molecules of 60 carbon atoms).

RASC London Centre was represented by Peter Jedicke, Tricia Colvin, Bob Duff, Mark Tovey, Dale Armstrong, Dave McCarter and graduate student and RASC London Centre member Emily McCullough. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was also there and listened to the slide lecture. Professor Jan Cami was “telescope operator” in the dome for the evening and Emily McCullough gave a telescope talk and demonstration of the big 25.4cm refractor. Since the weather was damp but not actually raining Emily opened the dome and directed the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) towards some nearby treetops, since the communications tower further south was obscured by haze. Emily talked to visitors throughout the evening and invited them to climb the observing ladder and view through the big 25.4cm refractor. 

Emily had also set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mmNagler eyepiece, 66X) inside the dome early evening and Tricia Colvin showed visitors the wind turbine on the Engineering building through this telescope from just inside the door to the roof patio. Dale Armstrong took pictures with his camera and tripod using a wide-angle lens, including several group portraits of the volunteers beside the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome at the end of the evening. The Observatory was closed down by 10:40 p.m. when the last visitors had left after an enjoyable and interesting evening of slide presentation and viewing through telescopes despite the cloudy, rainy weather.