Cloudy skies greeted 7 visitors (3 students and 4 adults, including the teacher) from the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School Grade-9 class for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, March 26th, 2015, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Parshati Patel made 2 digital slide presentations, beginning with “Extra Solar Planets” and following this with “Life in the Universe”. She answered some interesting questions.
RASC London Centre was represented by Tricia Colvin, Mark Tovey and Bob Duff. Bob made ready the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome and Tricia set up the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece) just inside the door to the roof patio. Bob and Tricia also set up the Observatory’s 8-inch (20.3cm) Meade 2080/LX3 Schmidt-Cassegrain (26mm Plossl eyepiece, 77X) inside the dome and Bob directed it to view out the door towards the red and white flashing lights on the communications tower in south London. When everybody arrived upstairs in the dome Bob gave a talk about the history of the Cronyn Observatory and technical aspects of the big 25.4cm refractor, using the 32mm Erfle eyepiece (137X) for demonstration. Bob also explained the Standard and Sidereal Time clocks on the east wall. Bob invited the visitors to observe the lights on the communications tower through the Schmidt-Cassegrain and Tricia showed them the wind turbine on the Engineering building through the 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X), which was now set up outside on the roof patio. The visitors were gone by around 9:00 p.m. after expressing their thanks for an interesting and enjoyable evening of astronomy despite the cloudy sky.