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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
Oxford Astrophysics
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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

What's Up - Week of 20th February

  • Astronomical Twilight ends at 19.23 UT at the start of the week and at 19.33 UT at the end

  • The Moon will wane to New on Sunday

  • Three planets line up in the evening western sky. From West Venus at magnitude -4.3 then Mars at +1.6 and then at +6.2 Uranus (should be easy in Binos)

  • The Sun is quiet with one inactive spot group

  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week

  • There are two super-bright evening Iridium flares this week on Monday at 19.32.59 at 48 degrees altitude in SE and on Thursday at 53 degrees in NNE

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News - 15th February

Oxford Lecture: CEB gave the 34th Astronomy for All lecture in the annual series of public lectures at Green Templeton College, Oxford. 40 visitors from the University, local Astronomical Societies and students attended the talk titled 'Dreamtime in Neolithic Britain' - The importance of hengescapes in safeguarding knowledge

9th FebruaryHouse visit: 12 pupils from C3 Shell and a tutor came up to the Dome. The sky was cloudy

Next House visit: Thursday 2nd March (C2)

2nd February

External visit: 21 Scouts from 2nd Marlborough pack and 5 adults came up to the Dome. The group included years 3 to 6 and even an 18 month old baby, perhaps the youngest visitor to the Dome for a very long time. Sadly the sky was cloudy

House visit: 13 pupils from MO Shell and their HM came up to the Dome. Sadly the sky was cloudy

Next House visit: Thursday 9th February (C3)

1st February

China exchange visit: 6 pupils from China (Hohhot No.2 School in Inner Mongolia and Fudan WLSA Academy in Shanghai) came up to the Dome. The sky was cloudy sadly

28th January

'Stargazing Live' open day Oxford: CEB again was on queue entertainment duty as around 1000 visitors attended the open day for the Astrophysics sub-Department in Oxford. Amazingly the skies were clear and both the PWT and Amateur Astronomical Society telescopes were in action

26th January

House visit: 8 pupils from CO coame up to the Dome. Though only 1 degree it felt much colder in the breeze. The sky was misty up to 40 degrees then clearish. Mars and Venus were located and then M45 in Binos and M42 in ETX. M31 was also located

Next House visit: Thursday 2nd February (MO)

GCSE Observing: 1 Hundred pupil and 3 Remove came up to continue Controlled Assessment. Star counts were done in ETX and Orion and Cassiopeia drawn. The ten inch tracked the Eskimo nebula, which showed a little detail in the nebuloscity

21st January

Open evening: Sadly, after a run of clear nights, the clouds closed in and the evening was cancelled. However, 14 visitors including Friends and College community and 3 young, came up to see the telescope

19th January

House visit: 9 Shell pupils from lI came up o the Dome. The night was very clear, though not great seeing. Mars and superbright Venus were identified and M31 seen with averted vision. M45 were viewed in Binos and M42 in ETX. The 10 inch tracked the Eskimo planetray nebula. Thus the pupils were introduced to both extremes of stellar evolution

Next House visit: Thursday 26th January (CO)

12th January

House visit: 14 Shell pupils from MM came up to the Dome. There was a light covering of snow on the ground but the sleet had stopped. Only the Full Moon and Venus could be seen through the cloud, though Orion was seen in the bright moonlight at the end. The sky was otherwise cloudy. A fine lunar halo was seen

Next House visit: Thursday 19th January (LI)

9th to 18th December

10th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA):Sandor Kruk (PhD student in Oxford Astrophsics Department and Merton College) and CEB led the UK team of 5 students (4 boys and 1 girl) in Bhubaneswar, India. All 5 team members gained awards; 1 Gold (10th overall out of 240 competitors), 1 Silver, 1 Bronze and 2 Honourable Mentions. This ranked the UK 6th out of the 42 countries competing, behind Russia, Iran, India ,China and USA. The effort required in the three 5 hour exams is considerable and we are delighted with the result

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