0;136;0c0;136;0c Blackett Observatory - Marlborough College Blackett Observatory
Blackett Observatory Dome
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SpaceWeather | More weather... Coordinates: 51.25.25 N and 1.44.24 W
Marlborough College
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Look out for early Geminids. The meteor shower will build to a predicted fine maximum in the early hours of next Thursday

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

What's Up - Week of 4th December

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.02 UT at the start of the week and 18.03 UT at the end

  • The Moon is waning and will be New at the start of next week

  • The Geminid meteor shower (debris from asteroid 3200 Phaethon) will peak early Thursday morng at around 2am. Wednesday night should be a good time to view the build up, especially with no Moon till much later. Peak rates of up to 120 per hour are predicted

  • The Sun is blank again

  • The ISS makes its last passes this week: Monday 17.09.33 W to ESE reaching 83 degrees and 18.46.10 W to SW to 27 degrees. Tuesday 17.53.49 W to SE to 43 degrees. Wednesday 17.01.29 W to ESE to 60 degrees and 18.38.32 W to SSW to 17 degrees. Thursday 17.45.54 W to SSE to 17 degrees. Friday 16.53.26 W to SE to 38 degrees. Saturday 17.38.20 WSW to S to 15 degrees and Sunday 16.45.31 W to SSE to 22 degrees

  • There are two bright Iridium flares this week: Tuesday 17.00.41 at 18 degrees altitude in SSW and 18.17.29 at 33 degrees


Random Blackett Image
The 2004 October Lunar eclipse, when the Earth's shadow cuts off sunlight from the face of the full Moon. The red colour is due to refraction of sunlight through the Earth's atmosphere, effectively a projection of all the sunsets on Earth. (Venturin)

News - 7th December

External visit: DGR and NMA hosted another group of pupils from Swindon Academy at the Dome. The sky was patchy but strting to clear

House visit: 14 Shell pupils from EL came up to the Dome. The Pleiades were viewed in Binos and M57 Ring Nebula in 10 inch. M31 was seen by eye and the Milky Way identified

Next House visit: Thursday 11th January (IH)

GCSE Obesrving: 3 Hundred pupils and 3 Remove came up to the Dome under the first properly clear skies for months. The Seeing was poor however and the sky bright, despite the Moon being absent till just before 9pm. Star counts were done in ETXs and M45 drawn on Binos and M57 in 10 inch. Photographs were taken of M45, M31 and M42. Remove drawings were made of Cygnus, Umi and Orion. One early Geminid was seen

5th December

External visit: NMA hosted another group from Swindon Academy. The sky was cloudy

30th November

House visit: 11 Shell pupils and a tutor from DA came up to the Dome. It was cold and cloudy but frustratingly the sky cleared in patches as the group left

Next House visit: Thursday 7th December (EL)

28th November

Blackett Science Lecture: The 13th annual lecture was given by Professor Katherine Blundell FRAS, OBE of Oxford University Astrophysics Department. A large audience of astronomy, physics and interested pupils from all year groups, Friends of the Telescope and pupils from local Academies gathered to hear an excellent talk on 'Black Holes and spin-offs'. Her amazing international 'Global Jet Watch' project in 5 girls' schools on different continents, was also illustrated. It was fitting that the talk was on the 50th anniversary of the discovery of Pulsars by Jocelyn Bell (now Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell) who gave the inaugural Blackett Lecture in 2005

23rd November

External visit: A group of 27 yr5 pupils from Swindon Academy, accompanied by four members of staff, visited. The weather prevented them from the viewing the night sky

External visit: 16 members of Marlborough Scout pack visted with their leader and treasurer. The evening was wet and cloudy

House visit: 12 pupils from C3 Shell came up to the Dome. The evening was mild and wet

NextHouse visit: Thursday 30th November (DA)

25th November

External visit:25 year 5 pupils from the Swindon Academy, accompanied by two of their teaching assistants came up to the Dome. NMA and DGR were in charge. The weather, unfortunately, was cloudy

17th November

Leonids watch: 10 Friends including, 4 from Oxford came up to the Dome, optimistic about the weather. From clear skies and no Moon at 8.15pm the clouds closed in till nothing was visible by 9pm. 6 meteors were seen and M57 viewed by some in 10 inch. The evening was then abandonned

16th November

House visit: 11 pupils from C2 Shell and a Tutor coame up to the Dome in clearing skies. Major asterisms were pointed out and 2 early Leonids seen. M45 (Pleiades) was viewed in Binos and M57 (Ring Nebula) in 10 inch

Next House visit : Thursday 23rd November (C3)

GCSE Observing: The first full observing evening with a clear sky took pace with all 4 Hundred and 8 of the Remove attending. Despite the lack of Moon, the sky was very bright due to the scattered light of the sports pitches combined with the 64% humidity. Drawing projects of Umi and Cygnus were undertaken and Messier drawings of M45 and M57. Star counts in the MW were also attempted and some photography of M45 and M31 (Andromeda galaxy)

12th Novemebr

GCSE Remove observing: DGR gathered Remove set 1 at the Dome under hazy clear skies (sadly a good deal of skyglow). Drawings of Cygnus were made and magnitude estimates practiced

7th November

House visit: 10 pupils from CO came up to the Dome. It was wet and mild

Next House visit: Thursday 16th November (C2)

4th November

Prep School lecture: CEB gave the talk 'Stars, planets and wormholes' to a packed theatre of yr 5 to 8 at Pinewood School

OM day: CEB hosted 2 groups of OMs for 45 minutes each at the Dome as part of the OM day. 32 leavers ranging from 1947 to 2010 attended. Sadly it was cloudy

2nd November

External visit: 10 members of the 1st Broughton Gifford Explorer Scouts aged from 14 to 18 yrs and 2 Leaders came up to the Dome. Sadly it was cloudy

House visit: 11 pupils from C1 Shell came up to the Dome for their visit

Next House visit: Tuesday 7th November (CO)

31st October

House visit: An unexpected Shell House visit took place as 11 pupils from SU (scheduled for March 2018) came up to the Dome. Sadly the light of the waxing Gibbous Moon combined with high levels of moisture made the sky very bright. Polaris and Cassiopeia could be identified and the Summer Triangle. The Moon was viewed in Binos

Next House visit: Thursday 2nd November (C1)

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

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