Cloudy skies with rain and lightning, followed by hazy clouds, greeted 40 visitors to Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Weekday Public Night, Monday, April 10th, 2017, 8:00 p.m. Since there was no slide presentation, graduate student Viraja Khatu greeted visitors and directed them upstairs into the dome. Viraja and RASC London member Bob Duff (who was upstairs in the dome) counted visitors. Viraja later joined everybody in the dome with a count of 40 visitors by the end of the evening.
RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans and Bob Duff. Rainy weather ruled out opening the dome. Everett set up the observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain (20mm Plossl eyepiece, 100X) inside the dome so as to view the TV screen in the Western Sports & Recreation Center through the door to the roof patio. Everett, Paul and Bob talked with visitors as they arrived throughout the evening. Everett invited them to view through the 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain and hauled out the London Centre’s home-built 30.5cm Dobsonian for display in the dome. Bob talked to visitors about the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome, using the 52mm Erfle eyepiece (84X) for demonstration, and explained the Schmidt Camera and Cassegrain Reflector telescope piggy-backed on the main telescope. He also explained the 8-inch (20.3cm) Schmidt-Cassegrain and 30.5cm Dobsonian set up inside the dome, the 2 clocks on the observatory’s east wall and the difference between Standard and Sidereal Time.
Paul showed visitors his meteorites, including the chondrite (stony) and iron meteorites as well as the Moon and Mars meteorite samples in small plastic display cases. Paul invited them to “walk on the Moon” by stepping on his lunar meteorite sample display case placed in a wooden block with a transparent Lexan polycarbonate sheet cover.
The sky seemed to partially clear later in the evening and Everett moved the 30.5cm Dobsonian on to the roof patio where visitors viewed the nearly full Moon through hazy clouds in the east and later a red light on the construction crane behind the Engineering building. The visitors were gone by around 10:00 p.m. after an interesting and informative evening at the Cronyn Observatory despite the unfavorable weather.