Exploring the Stars, Western Aikido Club, October 24th, 2016

Partly cloudy skies greeted 14 visitors (including one child) from the Western Aikido Club for Exploring the Stars at Western University’s Cronyn Observatory, Monday, October 24th, 2016, 7:30 p.m. There was no slide presentation and graduate student Shannon Hicks welcomed everybody and brought them upstairs into the dome.

RASC London Centre was represented by Everett Clark, Paul Kerans and Bob Duff. Shannon gave the visitors a brief talk about the big 25.4cm refractor in the dome. Everett then directed the 25.4cm refractor (32mm Erfle eyepiece, 137X) towards Mars.

Shannon supervised as the visitors lined up and climbed the observing ladder to view Mars through the 25.4cm refractor, while Physics and Astronomy staff member Henry Leparskas talked to them about the big telescope and the history of the Cronyn Observatory. Shannon also directed the 25.4 cm refractor to the yellow and blue double-star Albireo after viewing Mars. Paul Kerans showed the visitors the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), globular cluster M13 and the Ring Nebula (M57) through the London Centre’s 25.4cm Dobsonian (17mm Nagler eyepiece, 66X) set up on the roof patio outside the dome. Everett gave one “Star Finder” planisphere to a little girl accompanying the adults.

When the sky clouded out around 8:35 p.m., Shannon brought everybody downstairs into the “Black Room” for the “Transit Demonstration” activity, with the “Transit Demo” model simulating the detection of extra-solar planets. The event was over by around 9:00 p.m. after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy for the visitors.