Blackett Observatory Dome
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Zeta Oph: Runaway Star

What's Up - Week of 29th June

  • Astronomical Twilight lasts all night until 21st July

  • An extra (leap) second is being added to June, so on Tuesday 23.59.59 will go to 23.59.60 before 00.00.00. This is to bring clocks in line with atomic clocks, due to the Earth's rotation slowing down. This is the 26th extra second since first used in 1972

  • The Moon is waxing to Full (Thunder Moon) on Thursday

  • The Sun is quiet again, there is only one departing sunspot group

  • The western sky after sunset continues to be dominated by Venus and Jupiter. They will slowly approach to within a third of a degree on Tuesday. Venus reaches an incredible super-bright m = -4.36 at the start of next week

  • There are no ISS passes this week

  • There is one bright evening Iridium flare this week on Monday at 23.03.26 at 31 degrees altitude in W


Random Blackett Image
Past Events - Public Solar Viewing afternoon - May 2005

News - 18th June

External visit: 15 Pupils from Marlborough Malaysia and two teachers came up to the Dome with 2 ex-pupils from Waterford Kamhlabe United World College in Swaziland. A faint CZA was visible when we first reached the Dome (2nd in a week!) The Sun was then viewed in solar goggles and the with ETX and white light filter. The sky was too cloudy sadly for the H alpha filter

16th June

External visit: A large group of local group of Ladies Who Latte came up to the Dome late afternoon. Though no Latte was provided they were greeted at 6.30pm by a clear sky and for the first time that I have seen, 3 solar atmospheric phenomena. Either side of the Sun were clear Parhelia (sundogs)or rainbow clouds, 11 degrees from the Sun at 9 and 3 o'clock. Joining them was a faint Parhelic circle of diameter 22 degrees. Most beutiful however was a clear Cicumzenithal arc (CZA)an inverted rainbow arc directly above the Sun. These all lasted for 15 minutes or so. The Sun was then viewed in solar goggles, Solarscope and then the ETX, which showed clearly the group 2367. The 10 inch was then used with the H alpha filter to view spot 2365 and its Plage. Very faint prominences were seen, however the sky had already become hazy

15th June

External visit: 2 yr 12 pupils from Pate's Grammar School in Cheltenham visited the Dome at the start of a work experience week, where they are to assist in the putting together an exhibiton of astronomical images which will hopefully run early in 2016. The sky had rather clouded over but in bright breaks the Sun was viewed in solar goggles, the ETX (which clearly showed the large sunspot group 2367 with umbra and penumbra and then the 10 inch and H-alpha filter which showed some clear prominences and granulation/p>

Exterenal lecture: CEB gave the lectue 'The oldest GOTO telescope in the World' to a large gathering of Chipping Norton Amateur Astronomy Group

13th May

Solar open day: 15 Friends and College staff gathered on a clear sunny afternoon. The Sun was veiwed in the Solarviewer which clearly showed the enormous sunspot group 2339 and 2345. The ETX showed excellent detail of the umbra and penumbra of the larger spots and clear striation in the penumbra. The main pair of spots were seen also to split into further pairs. Some 7 other spot groups were visible. The 10" viewed the Sun in H alpha and was focused on the lower limb where an enormous quiescent Hedge Prominence was seeen in the process of lifting of the surface. A great deal of detail was evident and the shape change perceptively over the 2 hours of observing

24th April

NASA lesson: The top Remove Physics sets had a lesson with Dr Abell and were able to ask plenty of questions

23rd April

NASA visit: Dr Paul Abell, lead scientist for small planetary bodies at Johnson Space Centre, Houston, came to the College for an outreach visit. He talked to Physicits and Astronomers about detecting, monitoring and intercepting asteroids and then gave an open talk on Asteroid Impact Threat and the Chelyabinsk Event in 2013

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