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Physics teachers (OAPT) astronomy workshop at Western

OAPT teachers workshop visit to Cronyn Observatory

A group from the Ontario Association of Physics Teachers (OAPT) came to workshops at Western during the week of July 4, 2016. The event was sponsored by the Ontario Teachers Federation (OTF).

One day was spent at an astronomy workshop hosted by Western astronomer Sarah Gallagher, along with postdoctoral fellows Parshati Patel and Aycha Tammour, and graduate student Viraja Khatu. Western astronomers Pauline Barmby and Stanimir Metchev were on hand for the daytime and evening observatory visits.

Sarah Gallagher led the Wednesday classroom activities. After lunch the group visited the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory where the graduate students, along with staff member Henry Leparskas and volunteers Paul Kerans, Heather MacIsaac, Peter Jedicke, and Bob Duff of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, London Centre, were on hand to help everyone observe the Sun through telescopes. It was a wonderful day for solar viewing through the Coronado 90mm H alpha scope, as there were many beautiful prominences to be seen on the Sun's limb.  The daytime visit also included a demonstration of the Sotellunium model (Sun-Earth-Moon) of Colgrove and Kingston, as well a demonstration by Parshati of a simple Sun-Earth-Moon model.  This model is comprised of a lamp that represents the Sun, and a small white foam ball on a stick that represents the Moon. In this model, our eyes represent the view of the Moon and Sun from Earth. Such a simple model can effectively demonstrate the phases of the Moon, as well as eclipses.

On Thursday evening the teachers visited Cronyn Observatory again for some planet and moon viewing. Additional RASC volunteers Everett Clark and Steve Gauthier were on hand along with Heather MacIsaac, Paul Kerans, Peter Jedicke, Bob Duff, Prof. Stanimir Metchev, and Henry Leparskas. There was a tour of the historical period room, a look at the transit demonstration setup, and fun with the model of Einstein's Equivalence Principle toy that is on display in the observatory classroom. Four telescopes were set up on the observing deck, and the historic 25.4cm refractor was also in use. There were superb views of the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.  The visitors also had a chance to view Jupiter's moon Io as it approached the limb of the planet.

[Flickr images]

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