Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, November 28th, 2015

Clear skies greeted some 75 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, November 28th, 2015, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Dilini Subasinghe made 2 presentations of the digital slide presentation “Mercury and Venus” and fielded questions.

RASC London Centre was represented by Dale Armstrong, Bob Duff, Tricia Colvin, Mark Tovey, Paul Kerans, Peter Jedicke and Steve Gauthier. London Centre member Richard Gibbens listened to the slide lecture. When people arrived in the dome Peter Jedicke gave a brief talk mentioning that this year the Cronyn Observatory celebrated the 75th Anniversary of its official opening, October 25th, 1940. Peter also explained some of the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor. 

Graduate student Tony Martinez was telescope operator for the evening with some assistance from RASC London Centre members Steve Gauthier and Tricia Colvin. Tony showed visitors the Ring Nebula (M57) in the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 52mm Erfle (84X) eyepiece and later swapped in the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) for a better view. Tony later showed visitors the yellow and blue double star Albireo in the 25.4cm refractor (52mm Erfle eyepiece, 84X). 

On the roof patio outside the dome Dale Armstrong operated the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain, showing visitors globular cluster M15, using the 15mm Sky-Watcher UltraWide eyepiece (133X); and the 3-day-past-full gibbous Moon and the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), using the 26mm Plossl (77X) eyepiece. He also showed them the orange and blue double-star Gamma Andromedae in the 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain. 

Paul Kerans showed visitors M31, the Owl Cluster (NGC457), the Moon, the Orion Nebula (M42) and the Pleiades in the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X). Paul also brought his own 31mm (36X) and 21mm (53X) Ethos eyepieces. Undergraduate student William Hyland set up his 8-inch (20.3cm) Orion SkyQuest XT8 Dobsonian and showed visitors Albireo, the Pleiades, M31 and M42. William used Paul’s 21mm Ethos eyepiece (57X) as well as his own 25mm eyepiece (48X) in his 8-inch (20.3cm) Dobsonian.

There were at least 20 people in the audience when Dilini presented the slide presentation a second time at 8:05 p.m. There were an estimated 75 visitors for the evening. There were some 57 “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015]) pamphlets and 2 “Secrets of the Night Sky” (CSA) posters distributed to interested visitors. The Observatory began closing down around 9:00 p.m. after a very successful evening of astronomy.