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Blackett Observatory Dome
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Marlborough College
Oxford Astrophysics
Green Templeton College

Observing optical doubles (Friends): Sunday 22nd October at 8pm (if weather permits)

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day
Haumea of the Outer Solar System

What's Up - Week of 16th October

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.02 BST at the start of the week and 19.50 BST at the end

  • The Moon is waning and will be New on Thursday

  • The Sun is blank for the 7th day in a row

  • The ISS makes no passes week

  • There is one superbright evening Iridium flare this week on Wednesday at 19.23.47 at 49 degrees altitude in NNE


Random Blackett Image
Past Events - Lunar Eclipse

News - 6th to 13th October

World Space Week: CEB represented the Royal Astronomical Society, lecturing alongside an ISS astronaut, NASA historian and the Commercial Director of Virgin Galactic. Planetarium shows and night-sky observing also attracted large audiences

3rd October

House visit: 12 Shell pupils from BH came up to the Dome. Sadly it was cloudy

Next House visit: Thursday 2nd November (C1)

28th September

House Shell visit: The first House visit of the academic year took place with 10 pupils from B1 coming up to the Dome. Some bright stars and the Summer Triangle were visible between extensive high cloud and the First Quarter Moon was viewed in the Binos and ETX

Next House visit: Tuesday 3rd October (BH)

22nd September

Friends 13th annual drinks: On the Autumnal Equinox, 30 or so of the outreach group Friends of the Marlborough Telescope gathered at the dome for the annual drinks party. It was good to see both new members and stalwarts there

13th September

External visit: The chairman of the Friends outreach group and his wife and 3 distiguished Radio astronomers for the Oxford Astrophysics sub-Department visited the Dome. Gaps in the cloud allowed views of mature sunspot 2680 throug h the 10 inch

28th to 29th August

UK Astronomy Olympiad Team training camp: The 6 finalists (aged 16-18) of the British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad (BAAO) competition, who will provide the 5 members of the UK team for the 11th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA) to be held in Phuket, Thailand in November came with one of the Team Leaders to the Observatory for 2 days and nights of training with CEB (2015 and 2016 Team Leader). In the afternoon the sky was sunny and clear and we were able to view the Sun in solar goggles and then the ETX and the 10 inch with white light filters. The mature spot 2672 and a group of small spots were clearly seen. After afternoon training, at 9pm, the Observatory opened for 6 hours of solid observing and testing/training with naked-eye, binocular and telescope tasks. Many individual targets were viewed and M13 and M45 drawn. The 10 inch was in action for magnitude comparison questions and field of view/object size comparison. Targets included M29 (Cooling Tower) Open Cluster and M57 Ring Nebula. Uranus and Neptune were also viewed. The evening remained warm and clear though humidity was very high and the scattered light prevented a really dark sky. By 2am the Pleiades were high in the sky and the Milky Way very clear. Several bright meteors were seen including a few in the 10 inch. The second night was cloudy but hours were instead spent tackling problems and studying star maps and sky projections.

21st August

USA Eclipse: CEB (accompanied by NJB) co-led an Alumni Tour from Oxford and Cambridge to view the Great 2017 US Eclipse. Having travelled 1700 miles from Arizona through Utah to Wyoming, the group of 40 watched from a private venue in Jackson Hole WY below the Teton mountains. We had 2 minutes and 19 seconds of Totality in a clear sky. The Moon's shadow was filmed travelling at 2000 mph and also the shadow band 'snake' phenomenon. The Corona was Y shaped but not extensive and no Coronal shadow was seen. Animal disquiet and confusion was observed in both cows and geese and the temperature fell by some 12 degrees. Venus dominated the dark sky and Mars and Jupiter, Regulus and Sirius were seen

12th August

Perseid meteor shower: A perfect night until the waning gibbous Moon caused too much light pollution. A group of Friends gather at the Dome and recoreded exactly 100 Perseids in just over 2 hours. 6 Fireballs were seen and also the Iridium flare forecast at 23.33

Youngest Friend visit: The youngest member of the Friends of the Telescope (4 yrs old) and his father visited the Dome in the afternoon. In breaks in the cloud we were able to observe the Sun with solar goggles and then in the ETX with a white light filter. The fading large sunspot 2670 was clearly visible

2nd August

Summer School week 4: Despite rain and cloud a group of 20 guests aged 9 yrs and up came up to the Dome with CEB. Even with the poor conditions the evening lasted 1.5 hours

More news...