The Kingston Astronomy Outeach Network (KAON) held an open house at Queen’s University Observatory on Saturday 2013 February 09 starting at 7:30pm EST.
Nathalie Ouellette, the observatory coordinator was there along with her assistant Jonathan Sick and Faculty Member St├ęphane Courteau was also on hand. Many thanks to Jonathan for the back breaking snow shovelling off the observing deck.
Plan B was to take the telescopes down to the sidewalk, but the sidewalk had not been cleared.

The Guest Speaker: Mr. Alexandre David-Uraz (Queen’s University)
Title: Superstars: The Dramatic Lives (and Deaths) of the Giants in the Sky
Talk Begins: @ 7:35pm Location: Ellis Hall: Room 324
Kim reports that he gavea great talk to a full sitting room of 80 people plus another 40, totalling 120, packed around the walls standing.
Amazingly great turnout yet again.

We put out many RASC-KC freebies on a table to hand out including: starfinders, journals, skynews, mary lou’s new telescope, how to become a sidewalk astronomer, solar and galactic trading cards, light pollution cards, red flashlight material and rubber bands, RASC-KC Business cards and more. Very little if any material came back home.

Out on the deck, Laurie Graham and son Devon with their 20cm Meade, Susan Gagnon with her just short of 4″ SC, and Kim Hay and myself manned the 20cm Fitzgerald dobsonian. We did manage to make the modifications in time beforehand, removing the teflon altitude bearing pads and replacing them with sticky felt pads. It did make a noticeable difference but it could still use more friction. Perhaps some kind of quick release hold down or spring.

A heavy hazy sky moved in and our only targets of opportunity were Jupiter and its moons (from outside to inside) Ganymede, Europa, Callisto and Io; and M42 in Orion and M41 in Canis Major

There was not a lot of room on the deck.. maybe 20 people at a time for the three telescopes, and room for maybe 15 people in the dome upstairs with the C14, so we ran a little overtime, cycling people through various stages.

The deck was surprisingly warm even though it should have been freezingly cold. At 20:00 EST last night it was -19C in Yarker with no wind. In Kingston there was some wind from the East as seen on the steam plant exhaust, but we felt nothing on deck and were almost comfortable working without gloves or headgear. We arrived back home to -21C and falling. Sunday morning turned out to be -26C. What was the temperature on the observing deck? The nearest weather station was at the Kingston Yacht Club, who reported -9C during the observing run. At 22:00 Kingston got down to -12, showing the huge not-yet-frozen lake influence with at least a 9 degree difference between Kingston and Yarker, normally only a 5 degree difference.