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SpaceWeather | More weather... Coordinates: 51.25.25 N and 1.44.24 W
Marlborough College
Oxford Astrophysics
Green Templeton College

Sunday 13th December - Geminid Meteor Shower Observing (8pm)

A Zoom link will be sent to Friends on the day. Whatever the weather we will be looking out for meteors. If cloudy, the new radio detection system will be our only method of observation, but if it is clear we will also enjoy an optical live stream

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Unfortunately the Observatory will remain closed to visitors
while social distancing measures are in place

A range of talks and observing sessions will be delivered online instead

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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

What's Up!

Week of 30th November

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:03 UT at the beginning of the week and at 18:02 UT by the end of the week

  • Mars continues to be the highlight of our evening sky, shining at mag -1.1. Binoculars or a small telescope are sufficient to show dark patches on the planet's surface

  • The Moon is Full on Monday - the Cold Moon. Having passed through apogee last Friday, this full Moon will be a 'micromoon', appearing slightly smaller and dimmer than usual

  • The Sun is very active right now, moreso than it has been for many months. It has four active regions: AR 2783, AR 2785, AR 2786 and AR 2787, with a combined sunspot number of 67. Look on the GONG/NSO website for impressive H Alpha images: Click here for GONG

  • The ISS makes multiple evening passes as follows:
    Monday: 17:12, W to E, max 87° & 18:49, W, max 31°
    Tuesday: 18:02, W to ESE, max 87°
    Wednesday: 17:14, W to E, max 86° & 18:51, W to WSW, max 30°
    Thursday: 18:03, W to SE, max 61°
    Friday: 17:16, W to ESE, max 76° & 18:53, W to SW, max 23°
    Saturday: 18:05, W to SSE, max 34°
    Sunday: 17:17, W to SE, max 46° and 18:55, WSW to SSW, max 12°

More...


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Past Events - Malmesbury Community Centre Visit - February 2006

News

3rd December

House visit:14 Shell pupils from DA came up to the Dome with a Tutor. It was cloudy

Next House visit: Thursday 10th December (EL)

1st December

House visit:10 Shell pupils from IH came up to the Dome with a Tutor. It was clold and cloudy

Next House visit: Thursday 3rd December (DA)

26th November

GCSE Observing: Despite freezing fog, Remove astronomers came to the Dome to sketch the Moon. They started with a naked eye view, showing the 11 day old phase, a double aureole and Mars only a few degrees away. They then sketched a more detailed view given by the two ETXs and a close up of the crater Tycho, through the 10-inch. Photos were taken with their mobile phones through an ETX

House Visit: 10 pupils from Cotton Shell came to the Dome. Despite the fog the Summer Triangle and Polaris were visible and bright red Mars. The Moon and Tycho crater were viewed in the 10 inch

Next House visit: Thursday 3rd December (DA)

25th November

EP Observing: Under clear skies, but with a Waxing Gibbous Moon, the L6 EP pupil continued his astrophotography work at the Dome with GKWJ, gathering data sets of M45 (Pleiades), the Double Cluster and M81 & M82 (Bode's & Cigar Galaxies). Photographs of the Moon were also taken, along with 'test shots' on a number of targets

19th November

GCSE Observing: Pupils from the Hundred continued their Aided Observing Tasks. Sketches were made of Messier objects - M45 (Pleiades) through binoculars, M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) through an ETX and M57 (Ring Nebula) through the 10 inch. Photographs were taken of star trails around the NCP and of the sky to try and catch meteors. Several late Leonid meteors were seen through the evening

House Visit: 12 pupils from C3 Shell came to the Dome with a tutor. The sky was clear if very damp. M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) and the Milky Way were seen by eye. M45 (Pleiades) was veiwed in Binos and M57 (Ring) was viewed in the 10 inch.

Next House visit: Thursday 26th November (CO)

17th November

Friends Observing: A group of some 23 Friends and pupils gathered online via Zoom to observe the annual Leonids meteor shower. While cloudy conditions meant that optical observing was not possible, all was not lost. The group was introduced to the new radio meteor detection system that is in development for the Dome. CEB introduced the Leonids and GKWJ introduced the radio system. One meteor 'ping' was seen on the radio feed - a first for the Marlborough College Blackett Observatory! The challenge is to have the radio system fully installed and operational for the Geminids in December

12th November

House visit: 8 pupils from LI Shell came up to the Dome. Initially it was raining but a break in the cloud allowed views of the main Autumn asterisms and the Milky Way and also all present were able to see M31 by (averted) eye

Next House visit: Thursday 19th November (C3)

9th November

Radcliffe Society: The Society met on Zoom for the November meeting. The topic of 'Life Elsewhere' was explored through three videos (phospine in the atmosphere of Venus, tidal heating and the Drake equation) and discussion amongst the group. Next meeting: 7th December

6th November

EP Observing: This year's astronomy focussed Extended Project pupil had his first evening at the Dome with GKWJ, starting to learn the basics of astrophotography. Images of M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, were taken through the Smith 8-inch under a predominantly clear sky, but intermittent cloud hindered perfect progress

5th November

GCSE Observing: The Hundred GCSE astronomers started their Aided Observing Tasks at the Dome tonight. Sketches were made of M45 (The Pleiades) through binoculars and of M57 (The Ring Nebula) through the 10-inch. Photographs of star trails around the North Celestial Pole were taken

House Visit:11 pupils from C1 Shell came up to the Dome with a Tutor. The sky was largely clear with falling temperatures. A tour was given outside the Dome and then the 10 inch was used to view Mars. The ice cap and some dark green markings were discernable

Next House visit: Thursday 12th November (LI)

3rd November

GCSE Observing: The Remove GCSE astronomers joined CEB and GKWJ at the Dome for an excellent evening of naked eye observing. They made sketches of the main asterisms looking north and then south, adding in the waning Gibbous Moon and a wonderfully bright Mars. Apparent magnitudes of the principal stars were estimated and calculations using local sidereal time were attempted

18th October

Friends Observing: Unfortunately cloud prevented the scheduled observing of double stars, but that did not deter us from meeting. A group of around a dozen Friends gathered online for the first 'Cloudy Alternative' and considered the topic of 'Life Elsewhere', inspired by the recent discovery of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. A fascinating discussion ensued, though ultimately inconclusive, we all agreed that simple life forms are probably abundant while complex life forms require a complex set of conincidences and are therefore likely to be extremely rare

15th October

GCSE Observing: 8 Hundred astronomers had their first evening of the year at the Dome. It was cloudy to start with, but soon cleared to enable a revision session Sky Tour

9th October

GCSE Observing: 10 Remove GCSE astronomers came up to the Dome for their first evening of observing. Under a cold and clear autumn sky, they enjoyed a Sky Tour around the major asterisms, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Milky Way and the planets, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. The invisible 'lines in the sky' were identified. They then used the clinometers they had made in class earlier to measure the altitude of Polaris, calculate the altitude of the Celestial Equator, measure the alitude of the star Deneb and calculate its Declination. They were also able to estimate Deneb's Right Ascension given its distance from the meridian and the local sidereal time. Finally Mars was viewed through the 10inch, where some surface detail was visible

8th October

House visit: 12 pupils from C2 Shell and a Tutor came up to the Dome. The sky was largely cloudy, though allowed sights of 2 major asterisms, the Saucepan and Polaris and the Summer Triangle. Jupiter and Saturn were also visible as the group departed

Next House visit: Thursday 15th October (IH)

1st October

House visit: 11 Shell pupils from BH came up to the Dome. The sky was cloudy and it was raining by the end of the evening

Next House visit: Thursday 8th October (C2)

More news...