Exploring the Stars, 60th London Girl Guides, October 13th, 2015

Cloudy skies greeted 11 girls and 2 leaders from the 60th London Girl Guides for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Tuesday, October 13th, 2015, 6:30 p.m.  They were joined by a parent around 7:40 p.m., bringing the total 14 visitors (11 children and 3 adults).  Graduate student Dilini Subasinghe made the digital slide presentation “Girl Guide Astronomy Badge”, beginning 6:35 p.m. and lasting 45 minutes with many questions from the girls.  This was followed by the activity “Telescope Kits”, with the girls assembling small reusable telescopes from kits and focusing them on a slide presented by Dilini along with another slide showing how a refractor telescope worked.

Since it was cloudy the dome remained closed and RASC London Centre member Paul Kerans set up the London Centre’s Dobsonian.  Paul gave a brief talk on the history of the Cronyn Observatory and how telescopes worked.  Graduate student Laura Lenkic followed, showing the girls the different parts of the telescope (the lenses) and pointing out that there were 5 different telescopes, including the Schmidt camera, the Cassegrain-reflector and the 2 finderscopes, all mounted on the big 25.4cm refractor.  Laura then briefly opened the dome, so that everybody could see it in action.

Paul then showed the girls the wind turbine on the Engineering building through the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X), set up just inside the dome so as to view out the door to the roof patio.  He also showed them the 2 meteorites he had brought, a stony and a stony iron.  He also distributed the pamphlet “Getting Started in Astronomy” (RASC, SkyNews [2015]) to all the kids.  It was an enjoyable evening for the Guides, learning about astronomy and telescopes, and ended around 8:00 p.m.