Western University Physics adn AstronomyWestern Science

Londoners visit Cronyn Observatory during Doors Open London 2016

Cronyn Observatory volunteers Mark Tovey and Tricia Colvin during Doors Open London 2016

Mark Tovey and Tricia Colvin as photographed by Dale Armstrong

[Flickr images]

The cozy indoor environs of Cronyn Observatory greeted over 200 visitors as damp weather descended over London on Saturday, October 1, 2016.

Volunteers from The Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada were on hand during Cronyn Observatory's first foray as part of the 15th annual Doors Open London.

In the main floor lecture theatre volunteers Dilini Subasinghe and Robin Arnason directed visitors to the basement demonstrations and 1940 period room as well as to the upstairs observing floor.

The upstairs observing floor is home to the original observatory telescopes. The newly painted purple 1940 25.4cm refracting telescope built by Perkin Elmer Corporation of New York is still the second largest refractor in Canada next to the 38cm Brashear refractor of the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology (closed for repairs til 2017)  in Ottawa. On the observing floor volunteers had also set up many of the telescopes that are normally used on the outside deck.  These included the 90mm Coronado solar telescope, the 20cm Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, the 25.4cm Dob, and Paul's 23.5cm Schmidt-Cassegrain scope. Helping on the observing floor were Paul Kerans, Everret Clark, Steve Gauthier, Peter Jedicke, Dale Armstrong, and Henry Leparskas.

In between bouts of Scotch mist the dome was opened and the 25.4cm refractor as well as the Dob were pointed at various towers and construction cranes in the distance.

In the downstairs 'black room', Tricia Colvin, beautifully attired in period garb, showed visitors a real life demonstration of how the photo sensor of a space telescope can detect extrasolar planets via the transit method.

In the 1940 period room, Mark Tovey, dressed as the late Professor Harold R. Kingston, gave tours of observatory's treasured historic artificats. These include Kingston's original brass refracting telescope, a 19th century French noonday cannon, and models such as the Sotellunium which were hand built on premises by the retired Rev. William Colgrove and Harold R. Kingston, and much more. Dale Armstrong and Henry Leparskas also gave tours of the period room to small groups of visitors.

At 19:00 Peter Jedicke, Honorary President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, gave a fascinating 40 minute lecture titled, "The Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory: A Brief History".

Reluctantly, after such a wonderful day of hosting so many curious visitors, the observatory was closed at 10pm.

Last updated on and Powered by Cascade Server