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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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SpaceWeather | More weather... Coordinates: 51.25.25 N and 1.44.24 W
Marlborough College
Oxford Astrophysics
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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

What's Up!

Week of 17th February

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19:17 UT at the start of the week and 19:27 UT at the end

  • Venus continues to dominate the southwest evening sky

  • For the early risers, the waning Crescent Moon will appear close to Mars on Tuesday, Jupiter on Wednesday and Saturn on Thursday. Look in the southeast at around 6 am

  • The Moon will be New on Sunday

  • The Sun has no visible active regions, current spotless stretch is 14 days

  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week

More...


Random Blackett Image
Billions of light years away Hubble glimpses a dense and different Universe full of young galaxies at an early stage of formation after the Big Bang. (NASA, Hubble)

News

13th February

House visit: 10 Shell boys from Summerfield and a Tutor came to the Dome with GKWJ. It was cloudy.

Next House visit: Tuesday 25th February (TU)

11th February

GCSE Observing: 5 Hundred pupils joined GKWJ at the Dome. Unfortunately the clear forecast did not hold true and broken cloud hindered project work. One pupil managed to take photographs of star trails. The waning Gibbous Moon was enjoyed through binoculars as it rose

6th February

GCSE Observing: 12 Remove pupils joined CEB and GKWJ at the Dome on a clear but moonlit night. They made angular measurements of Orion to calculate its angular speed. They drew the Winter Wreath and estimated apparent magnitudes and celestial coordinates of its member stars given information about Rigel. The waxing Gibbous Moon was viewed in the 10inch

House visit: 12 Shell girls from New Court and a tutor enjoyed a clear sky at the Dome with GKWJ. A sky tour was followed by viewing the Pleiades (M45) in binoculars, to finish, the waxing Gibbous Moon was observed in the 10inch.

Next House visit: Thursday 13th February (SU)

4th February

House visit: 14 Shell girls from Morris, a Tutor and JAG visited the Dome with GKWJ. Early cloud parted to give a clear sky dominated by the waxing Gibbous Moon. The group enjoyed a sky tour, including Venus setting in the West and the dim Betelgeuse. The Moon was then viewed in the 10inch, with good detail visible along the terminator.

Next House visit: Thursday 6th February (NC)

28th January

GCSE Observing: 8 pupils came to the Dome on a rare clear evening. They started by making magnitude estimates of the dim Betelgeuse. They then continued work on their Aided Observing Tasks: drawings were made of M42 through the 10 inch, M45 through binoculars and photos of star trails around the North Celestial Pole were taken

27th January

External visit: 14 pupils and a teacher from Hardenhuish School, Chippenham, joined GKWJ at the Dome. Contrary to the forecast, the cloud parted to give hazy but satisfactory conditions for observing. Venus in gibbous phase was seen through the 10" followed by the crescent Moon. The group then saw the ISS pass overhead and the seemingly endless stream of Starlink third launch satellites. Finally, the Andromeda Galaxy, Almach and the Orion Nebula were viewed through the 10"

25th January

Stargazing Oxford: CEB managed the queue and welcomed over 1200 visitors to the annual stargazing open day at Oxford's astrophysics department

23rd January

House visit: 10 Shell boys and a Tutor from Preshute visited the Dome with GKWJ. It was cloudy.

Next House visit: Tuesday 4th February (MO)

22nd January

House visit: 14 Shell girls from Mill Mead visited the Dome with GKWJ. It was cloudy.

Next House visit: Thursday 23rd January (PR)

20th January

Radcliffe Society: The first meeting of the revived Radcliffe Society (the Marlborough College astronomy and astrophysics society) took place with GKWJ, JAG, CEB and eight pupils representing all year groups from Remove to Upper Sixth. The agenda was: Welcome (GKWJ), Society History (JAG and CEB), What's Up (GKWJ), then two pupils gave talks on Differential Photometry and Astrophotography at Marlborough College. The next meeting is on 11th February.

20th January

Prep School visit: 23 year 7 pupils and 3 staff from Cothill School visited the Dome. Arriving at twilight, the evening was perfectly clear, though the atmosphere damp. Venus in its Gibbous phase was seen in the ETX and the Pleiades in Binos. A couple of meteors were seen and a dozen or so satellites. Shortly after 6pm two stationary bright lights appeared in the East below Gemini, looking like a bright double star they then disapeared, remaining an unidentified sighting. The 10inch was then used to view the Great Nebula in Orion and the Trapezium of young stars

More news...