Clear hazy skies greeted 7 visitors from the English Conversation Program (ECP) for an evening of Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, November 16th, 2015, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Tony Martinez made a brief presentation of the digital slide presentation “Our Solar System” and then showed them stars and constellations with the software “Stellarium”. Tony followed this with the activity “Kitchen Comet”, inviting the visitors to the table set up at the front of the lecture room where he made a comet from dry ice and other materials.
RASC London Centre member Bob Duff directed the big 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) in the dome towards the 5-day-past-new crescent Moon. He also set up the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) on the roof patio outside the dome. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Bob gave a brief talk about the Cronyn Observatory and the big 25.4cm refractor, and explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall. Tony showed the visitors the Moon through the big 25.4cm refractor and Bob showed them the yellow and blue double star Albireo. Tony gave them a sky tour, pointing out the Pleiades and the Summer Triangle stars, Vega, Deneb and Altair. Bob then showed the visitors the Pleiades through the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X).
When the group was back downstairs in the lecture room, Tony distributed 7 “Star Finder” plansipheres, explaining how to use them and, with Bob’s assistance, helping everybody assemble them with transparent adhesive tape. The visitors were gone by 9:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.