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Blackett Observatory Dome
Welcome to the Marlborough College Blackett Observatory, home to the largest refracting telescope in Wiltshire. Learn more...
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Marlborough College
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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

What's Up - Week of 24th April

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22.38 BST at the start of the week and 23.00 BST at the end

  • The Lyrid meteor shower peaks at the start of this week. Observing just before dawn may allow 10-20 shooting stars an hour to be seen

  • The Moon is New on Wednesday and will then wax to First Quarter next week

  • The Sun has two sunspot groups, 1653 is a return of the active 2645 group

  • The ISS makes no passes this week

  • There are 2 bright evening Iridium flares: Wednesday at 20.54.07 (superbright) at 68 degrees altitude in E and 22.29.16 at 37 degrees in NE

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Random Blackett Image
The end of a star (similar to the Sun). A White Dwarf remains at the centre of a shell of exploding gas (the original outer layers of the old star). The colours are due to the presence of different elements.(NASA,Hubble)

News - 7th April

RAS Open meeting: CEB delivered the last of 4 talks at the April open meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in the Geologicl Society's lecture room on Piccadilly. The talk, presented to a diverse audience of distiguished professonal astronomers, was titled The British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad - from inception to International success

6th April

BAAO Selection Camp: CEB joined the other UK Team Leader Sandor Kruk and other Tutors in Oxford on the 3rd day of the British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad selection Camp. 11 year 12 pupils had performed suficiently well in the BAAO papers to attend 4 days of lectures, tests and observing held in the Astrophysics Department in Oxford. CEB delivered a talk on Telescopes and Optics which followed an inspirational address by Professor Bob Williams who was visiting from STSci (ex-President of IAU and the inspiration behind the Hubble Deep Field image) After supper in Jesus, the group gathered on the 6th floor to observe by eye and then with binoculars and telescopes. Bright stars were identified and the Moon and Jupiter viewed in detail. A good ISS pass was also seen. The team of 5 and a reserve will be decided before the end of the week and they will then recieve further training before representing the UK at the 11th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrrophysics in Phuket, Thailand in November

3rd to 5th April

Friends trip to EGO: 17 Friends of the Telescope joined CEB for a 3 day trip to Pisa. The focus of the visit was a morning and lunch at the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) and the Virgo Interferometer facility. We were given a superb talk and tour and are now well briefed and excited about the next Gravitational Wave discovery. We felt very lucky to have seen the Observatory at this early phase of Advanced Virgo

1st April

External visit: JAG and Gavin James hosted members of JAG's family. In gaps between the clouds Mars and Jupiter were seen by eye and the brighter stars as they appeared. The Moon was viewed in Binos and ETXand the M42 in the 10 inch followed by Eskimo Nebula

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