Some hazy clouds, later clearing sky greeted some 60 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Summer Public Night, Saturday, May 2nd, 2015, 8:30 p.m. Graduate student Parshati Patel made 2 presentations of her digital slide presentation “The Eta Aquarids: Shooting Stars from Halley’s Comet” before an audience of perhaps 50 people for the first presentation and 10 people for the second presentation for an estimated total of 60 visitors.
Professor Aaron Sigut was telescope operator in the dome and directed the big 25.4cm refractor (52mm Erfle eyepiece, 84X) towards the 1-day-prior-to full Moon rising through hazy clouds in the eastern sky. Visitors were impressed by the bright, heavily cratered view of the Moon. Aaron later redirected the big 25.4cm refractor, with the help of RASC London Centre member Dale Armstrong, towards Saturn, which was rising in the eastern sky. Dale recommended swapping in the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) in place of the 52mm Erfle (84X) for a more impressive sight of Saturn in the big 25.4cm refractor for a few remaining visitors at the end of the evening.
RASC London Centre was represented by 8 members, including Bob Duff, Steve Imrie, Dale Armstrong, Mark Tovey, Steve Gauthier, Peter Jedicke, Roman Dubinski and graduate student and RASC London Centre member Emily McCullough. London Centre member Richard Gibbens was also there and listened to the slide lecture.
Steve Imrie set up the RASC London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) and Dale, Mark, Bob and Emily set up the Observatory’s 2 Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes on the roof patio outside the dome. People viewed the Moon, Venus and Jupiter through these telescopes. In addition, Dale showed them the double-star Izar and Saturn in the 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain. Mark, Bob and Emily operated the second 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, which had no power supply and had to be moved manually. They showed people the Moon, Venus and Jupiter in this unpowered Schmidt-Cassegrain.
Steve Gauthier set up his 10 X 70mm Fujinon binoculars on a camera tripod and showed people the Moon, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. Bob gave one lady a “Moon Gazers’ Guide” card and a “Star Finder” planisphere, which he assembled with tape and showed her how to use out on the roof patio. The visitors were mostly gone with the Observatory being closed down by around 11:20 p.m. after a very interesting and enjoyable evening of astronomy under clearing skies.