Cronyn Observatory opens its doors at Homecoming

Solar observing at Cronyn Observatory during Homecoming weekend 2015

[more images on Flickr]

Glorious weather awaited the many visitors to Western's campus during the Homecoming weekend.

The Cronyn Observatory opened its doors to the Homecoming visitors for solar observing and tours on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, as well as on Saturday evening.

Hosting the event were the Department of Physics and Astronomy through its Exploring the Stars program, and the London Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Astronomers were situated behind the observatory with their telescopes, large and small, including a Sunspotter. Visitors could also tour inside the observatory, where they could view the sun through different telescopes, including one that showed the Sun in the red light of Halpha. The public also listened to talks about the history of the observatory, its people, and equipment.

In the observatory classroom, volunteers displayed a Sotellunium, which is an astronomy eclipse teaching aid invented right here at Western by amateur astronomer Rev. W.G. Colgrove and Western's first professor of Mathematics and Astronomy Harold R. Kingston back in the 1940s.

Eclipse glasses were also on hand for another interesting and safe way to view the sun.

Many sunspots were visible on both days.

The observatory doors stayed open on Saturday evening.  At 7:00pm, graduate student Shannon Hicks gave a talk titled "The Mystery of Eclipses".

Upstairs on the observing floor and out on the observing deck, visitors were treated to views of Saturn as it slowly set in the west,  as well as the almost full moon in anticipation of the next night's eclipse.

Visitors also viewed neighbouring galaxy M31, M101 the Owl cluster, the star Albireo, as well as globular cluster M13.

Later in the evening an experimental wireless feed was successfully arranged between one of the telescopes on the observing deck and a large television in the classroom. Live video images of the moon were displayed in this manner.