RASC London Centre Past President and Public Outreach Coordinator Dave McCarter had already set up his 254mm Dobsonian telescope beside his car on the driveway beside the grassy baseball diamond of Heritage Park just north of Ilderton Public Library when Bob Duff arrived around 7:30 p.m. for the Ilderton Public Library Star Night, Friday, May 22nd, 2015. Dave was talking to a small group of some 15 people including a library staff member who counted 61 visitors (30 adults and 31 children) before she left towards the end of the evening. However, there were 4 more arrivals after she left, bringing the total visitor count to 65. If we include the library staff member the count is 66 people.
Bob set up his 203mm Dobsonian on the field and was soon joined by Peter Jedicke, accompanied by Steve Gauthier, who set up his 145mm HD Maksutov-Newtonian Ceravolo telescope on a Celestron Losmandy equatorial mount. There was also one visitor who set up a Meade LightBridge 12-inch (305mm) Truss-Tube Dobsonian. The sky was very clear and the temperature rather chilly but visitors enjoyed views of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter through the London Centre members’ telescopes. Saturn was at opposition and was seen rising in the eastern sky after sunset. Bob showed people the 4-day-past-new crescent Moon in his 203mm Dobsonian beginning with a Meade MA25mm eyepiece (49X) and soon swapped in his 7mm Nagler (174.3X) eyepiece for a better view in the deepening twilight.
People also viewed Venus, Jupiter and later, Saturn, in Bob’s 203mm Dobsonian (7mm Nagler eyepiece, 174.3X). Venus, appearing brilliant white at half-phase, and Jupiter was a splendid view with its 4 Galilean moons west of the planet. Saturn presented a turbulent image as viewed through the telescope rising low in eastern sky. Bob showed a few people the double-star Castor later in the evening, with the binary components nicely resolved in the 7mm Nagler eyepiece (174.3X).
Bob also tried combining his 2X Meade Barlow lens and 7mm Nagler for a magnification of 348.6X in his 203mm Dobsonian, but the views of the Moon and Jupiter were not as good on this occasion. Most visitors were gone by 10:20 p.m. although 4 more arrivals towards the end of the evening kept Peter and Steve busy as Dave and Bob packed up their telescopes and left before 11:00 p.m., after a very enjoyable evening of astronomy under clear skies.