Exploring the Stars, Space Society of London, February 29th, 2016

Cloudy, later partly clearing skies greeted 10 visitors from the Space Society of London—including the Society’s President, undergraduate student Ian Mulholland—for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, February 29th, 2016, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Shannon Hicks presented the digital slide presentation “Big Bang” and fielded questions.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Tricia Colvin, Mark Tovey, Paul Kerans, Steve Gauthier, Peter Jedicke and Bob Duff. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome, Shannon gave a talk about the big 25.4cm refractor. Everett directed the 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) towards the communications tower in south London. Shannon sat down at the top of the observing ladder to supervise as visitors climbed the steps to view the lights on the tower through the big telescope.

When the sky partly cleared, Shannon directed the 25.4cm refractor overhead and Bob located the star Capella in the telescope’s field of view for the visitors to observe. Shannon soon redirected the 25.4cm refractor towards Jupiter, emerging from clouds in the east. Shannon and Everett swapped in the 18mm Radian eyepiece (244X) for a better view of Jupiter, but clouds of steam from the University’s heating plant smeared the image and the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) was swapped back in for a somewhat better view at lower magnification through the 25.4cm refractor.

Paul set up his Nikon 10 X 50mm binoculars on his Orion Parallelogram Mount and tripod on the roof patio outside the dome and invited visitors to view some landscape objects and, as the sky cleared, the Pleiades (M45), the Orion Nebula (M42) and Jupiter. The visitors were gone by 8:35 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy.