Blackett Observatory Dome
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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day
In the Center of Spiral Galaxy NGC 3521

What's Up - Week of 30th November

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18.04 UT at the start of the week and at 18.02 UT at the end

  • The Moon will be Last Quarter on Thursday

  • The Sun has 4 spot groups and none of these are active

  • There ISS returns with evening passes this week: Friday at 18.00.36 reaching 10 degrees altitude SSE to SSE. Saturday at 18.42.13 reaching 17 degrees SSW to SSWand Sunday at 17.50.20 reaching 20dgerees SSW to SE

  • There are four bright evening Iridium flares this week: Monday at 17.51.23 at 11 degrees in WNW and 17.59.50 at 34 degrees in S. Wednesday at 16.49.44 at 12 degrees in SW. Thursday at 17.06.27 at 20 degrees in WNW and Friday at 17.44.55 at 32 degrees in S


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Past Events - Public Solar Viewing afternoon - May 2005

News - 24th November

Blackett Science Lecture: Professor Donald Kurtz, University of Central Lancashire and Vice-President Royal Astronomical Sociaty delivered the 11th annual lecture 'Planets and Pulsations - A new Keplerian revolution'

15th November

House visit: 12 Shell pupils from C3 came upto the Dome. It was cloudy

Next House visit: Sunday 29th November (IH)

8th November

House visit: 12 Shell pupils from MO came up to the Dome under cloudy skies and light rain. As they left the sky was clearing

Next House visit: Sunday 15th November (C3)

4th November

External visit: 12 Spanish sixth form students and their teacher from Colegio Peleteiro in Santiago de Compostela were accopanied to the Dome by AHDT. The sky was cloudy

31st October

Double Star obsrving: A small number of Friends gathered on a classic Halloween evening (misty and laterly moonlit) and unusually clear. The Pleiades (this night is the Feast of the Pleiades and perhaps the origin of the Feast of the Dead) were viewed in Binos. The calibrated 10 inch was then turned to a number of Double Star targets, all selected to be high in the sky away from the mist and to test both the observing power of the telescope and observers. First Epsilon Lyrae: A widely spaced Double of almost identically bright, white stars, easily split in binos. The telescope however weas just able to split each of these into close binaries. Beta Cyni (Albireo) was next: A beutiful easy Double, 2 magnitues difference and coloured. The brightest a bright gold (described as Topaz) and the dimmer a slight blue (sapphire!). Omicron (31) Cygni: The is a triple system (squashed triangle) in a very rich star field. The brighter stars are well separated. Each has a slight colour (officially red, white and blue). Gamma Delphinus: A beutiful close bright pair. A magnitude difference and showing a gold and ?green clour. We then pushed the telescope to nearly vertical to view Delta Cephei (the original Cepheid variable) A fine double of nearly 2 magnitudes difference and showing orange and blue. We estimated that the variable was towards the dimmer end of its cycle. Several Taurid meteors were seen in the telescope

22nd October

External visit: 8 children (mainly yr 10 and 11) and 10 adults from Albourne Youth Council came to the Dome. A lunar aureole was seen and the waxing gibbous Moon was viewed in Binos. Otherwise the sky was cloudy

18th October

GTC visit: 16 Staff, Fellows and family from Green Templeton College Oxford (the previous pre-1935 home of the 10 inch) came up to the Dome. The evening was cloudy

11th October

House visit: 11 pupils from NC Shell came up to the Dome with 2 Tutors. The evening was cloudy

Next House visit 8th November (MO)

9th October

GCSE Observing: 8 Remove astronomers joined DGR at the Dome and though hazy near the horizon, managed drawings of Casssiopeia and Cygnus. The Pleiades (M45) were viewed in Binos

7th October

Friends Q&A: A small group of Friends attanded the Dome for a Q&A on Dwarf Planets, particularly the status of Pluto and definitions of planets. As a bonus we were able to observe Vesta in the 10 inch and then Uranus; neither of which showed the colour we had seen at the week-end4th OctoberHouse visit: The first House Shell visit of the academic year saw 10 pupils from C2 and their HM's wife and children visit the Dome. The sky was cloudy

Next House visit: Sunday 11th October (NC)

3rd October

Outer Planets: A small group of Friends gathered (possibly reduced in number by the England rugby match) on a clear evening for the first observing event of the new Diary. The ETX split Mizar A and B and then M13 and the Binos M31, which was easily seen by eye. The 10 inch was calibratedand then tracked Neptune, which showed a lovely pale blue colour and just discernable disc. Vesta was the next target and bright in comparision with a discernable warm brown/orange colour. The last target was Unranus showing a much bigger disc and a clear green-blue (or blue-green) hue

1st October

GCSE Observing: The first clear evenming of the academic year saw DGR and NMA at the Dome with 2 H and 18 R astronomers who had an introduction to the Dome, asterisms and constellations and the ETX was used to view some Messier objects

28th September

Total lunar eclipse: CEB decided to go to the Dome between 3am and 4am to watch the Total lunar eclipse (having seen the last in April in Australia) It was most impressive by eye, though the Binos showed it well against the background stars. In fact the most impressive sight was when it first rose early evening and appeared huge a pink against the horizon

25th September

Friend drinks: The 11th annual Friends drinks took place at the Dome under initially clear skies. A good number of Friends both old and new gathered in advance of the new Diary year

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