Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, October 29th, 2016

Cloudy skies greeted 28 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Saturday, October 29th, 2016, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Robin Arnason made his digital slide presentation “Zombie Stars: Black Holes, Neutron Stars and White Dwarfs.”

RASC London Centre was represented by Paul Kerans, Peter Jedicke, Dale Armstrong and Bob Duff. Paul counted 21 visitor, including 2 children, early in the evening and Bob counted 20 (including 2 children) in the lecture room, when he arrived around 7:48 p.m. The count was 28 visitors in all, with the arrival or 7 more adults and children later in the evening.

Graduate student Shannon Hicks was telescope operator in the dome for the first hour, 7:00—8:00 p.m., with Robin Arnason taking over for the rest of the evening. However, cloudy skies ruled out observing and the dome remained closed. Peter Jedicke gave talk on the history or the Cronyn Observatory and the technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. He showed the visitors the refractor’s 25.4cm lens and also talked about the Schmidt camera and Cassegrain reflector telescope piggybacked on the big refractor. Peter also called their attention to the 2 clocks on the east wall of the observatory and explained the difference between Standard and Sidereal time.

Dale Armstrong set up the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (26mm Plossl eyepiece, 77X) on the table and opened the window, inviting visitors to view the red light above the campus buildings to the north.

Paul Kerans showed visitors his chondrite (stony) and iron meteorites as well as his Moon and Mars meteorite samples in small plastic display cases. Paul placed the lunar meteorite sample in a wooden block with a transparent Lexan polycarbonate sheet cover and invited visitors to “walk on the Moon.”  There were 5 “Star Finder” planispheres distributed.

Bob Duff talked with one family who had arrived later in the evening and showed them the wind turbine on the Engineering building though the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) set up on the roof patio outside the dome.

The visitors were gone by around 9:00 p.m. Dale had brought his camera and tripod to take pictures. At the end of the evening he set up lights and an umbrella style reflector to take portraits of the RASC London members and Robin Arnason standing beside the 25.4cm lens of the big refractor. It was a nice ending to an enjoyable evening at the Cronyn Observatory.