Blackett Observatory Dome
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What's Up - Week of 24th November

  • Astronomical Twilight ends at 18.07 UT at the start of the week and 18.03 UT at the end

  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Saturday

  • The Sun has 3 large sunspot groups and 2209 and 2216 could produce flares this week

  • There are no evening ISS passes this week

  • There is one extremely superbright Iridium flare this week, which should be visible even in the twilight: Friday at 16.48.45 at 68 degrees altitude in ENE


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Past Events - Sir Patrick Moore's visit

News - 20th November

House visit: 11 Shell pupils and a House Tutor from C3 came up to the Dome. The sky was cloudy

Next House visit: Tuesday 25th November (C2)

11th November

House visit: 13 Shell pupils from MO came up to the Dome in heavy rain. Luckily the walk back was drier. The Dome could not be opened

Next House visit: Thursday 20th (C3)

6th November

House visit: 15 MM Shell and their U6 Head of Shell came up to the Dome in light drizzle. The sky was totally cloudy and orange with skyglow

Next House visit: Tuesday 11th November (MO)

21st October

Orionids: A very small group of Friends and 2 of the Security team braved falling temperatures and were rewarded by superb clearing skies. Probabaly the best this year. The Milky Way was prominent and M31 visible at its true extent of 3 degrees on the sky. M45 Pleiades were viewed in the Binos. The 10 inch viewed Mizar A and B with discernable different colours. Around 10 Orionids were seen altogether during the evening and a couple of bright sporadics

7th October

Shell House visit: 12 pupils from NC came up to the Dome in falling temperatures and good clear, but very bright skies. The 99% Full Moon made all but the brightest objects invisible. The Moon and its Mare were viewed in Binos and ETX, with Tycho being particualrly prominent. The 10 inch was used to beutiofully resolve Mizar A and B the Binary system of 14" separation (some 400 AU). Most were able to see the different colours of Blue and Gold. A good meteor in UMa was also seen

GCSE Onbserving: Due to the timing and Full Moon only one Remove pupil came up to the Dome to join NMA and CEB. He was rewarded by the occurence (on time) of a very bright iridium flare. The Moon was again viewed and Mizar A and B in the 10"

Next House visit: Thursday 6th November (MM)

6th October

Friends Q&A: A select group of Friends gathered for a themed evening on the Rosetta mission. The aim was to be fully briefed in advance of the planned landing of Philae on 12th November

2nd October

Shell House visit: The first visit of the academic year saw 12 pupils from SU Shell came up to the Dome. The Moon was viewed in Binos and the 10 inch, which also followed M13, but very little more than a blur was seen

GCSE Observing: 3 Remove astronomers came up despite slight mist and scattered cloud. The First Quarter Moon was viewed in Binos and the ETX and M13 (Globular in Hercules) in the 10 inch though no detail could be made out. The 10 inch then slewed to Neptune and then Uranus. Both planets showed a steady light but little colour could be seen

30th September

GCSE observing:NMA took charge of the Dome and 5 Remove astronomers were able to see 'first light' through the new 8" Smith, which as expected showed M31 (Andromeda) very well

26th September

Friends drinks: A very enjoyable 10th anniversary drinks was held at the Dome (for the first time in many years) The warm evening allowed a good group of both new and founding Friends to chat outside and then head in as the evening cooled. Two particular items were celebrated: a) The successful production of a crop of space-tomatoes, which have been dispersed among the Friends groups and interested College staff. We look forward to some of the seeds producing the next generation and b) This summer we passed the 250th GCSE astronomy pupil in the 17 years it has run at the College. With stats of over 50% A* grades, over 90% A*/A and 100% pass rate. For those that lingered Neptune was viewed, though the evening was not dark enough to allow real colour to be claimed

22nd September

Friends Outer planets: As the Equinox approached a group of both new and retuning Friends gathered at the dome in the twilight. Autumn asterisms were identified and M31 viewed in Binos. Several satellites (including an Iridium flare at -3 magnitude) were seen and a couple of bright meteors. The ETX then viewed M31 and then M13 in Hercules. As the sky darkened, the 10 inch located Neptune and its steady light was readily identified. Colour estimates varied from grey-blue to lilac. Uranus was the final target and its disc showed colours estimated from turquoise to green-blue to grey-yellow. A successful start to the Friends events diary

18th September

External Lecture: CEB gave the lecture 'Archaeoastronomy -The dawn of Science' to Andover Astronomical Society

16th September

External visit: The observatory received an unexpected and very welcome donation from Mrs Vera Smith, who travelled from Kent with her husband to donate a fine brand new 8" Newtonian telescope. This motorised wide aperture instrument will be a super addition to the 'arsenal'

GCSE Observing: The first observing night of the year was held, with clearish skies (though high cloud) and poor seeing and a high level of skyglow in the South. Asterisms were identified by eye. Binos were used to view Mizar and Alcor and then Andromeda galaxy M31. The ETX viewed and split Mizar A and B. The 10 inch tracked the Great globular in Hercules, though the twilight meant the object was not very clear. 6 Remove astronomers attended

6th September

Shell Form visit: 12 pupils from CAC's Shell Form came up to the Dome. The sky was cloudy

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