Blackett Observatory Radio Meteor Detection System - Live Stream
The radio meteor detection system is now being live streamed on YouTube 24/7, click HERE to view on the Blackett Observatory YouTube channel. Don't forget to subscribe to the channel!---
Unfortunately the Observatory will remain closed to visitors
Week of 18th January
Past Events - La Palma College Trip - April 2005
Friends Observing: A group of a dozen Friends met on Zoom for the annual 'Bring Your Own Telescope / Binoculars' observing session. Cloudy conditions prevailed, so a Q&A session was enjoyed. A whole range of questions were raised, ranging from 'how do I actually find objects with a pair of binoculars?', through to 'what is the best approach to start astrophotography with my 9.25 inch Celestron telescope?'. It was a stimulating session, with great participation from all attending
House visit:7 Shell pupils from MO joined CEB on Zoom. Several were based overseas and thus the event was recorded. The night was mild and cloudy
House visit: The first House visit of the term occured remotely via Zoom, a new venture. The majority of Shell pupils from MM were able to attend and the visit was recorded for those in different time zones. The night was cold and foggy, but only CEB was exposed to this. The pupils could sit in the warm in their homes for the observatory tour
2nd January 2021
Friends Observing: A group of around a dozen Friends joined CEB, GKWJ and JAG online via Zoom to observe the Quadrantids meteor shower. It was cloudy, so observation was only possible with the Radio Meteor Detection System. CEB gave an introduction to the Quadrantid shower and GKWJ gave an update on the radio system. We then watched for meteors, but it was relatively quiet with only a small number of short 'pings' seen. The peak of the Quadrantid shower evidently hadn't started yet. The radio detector live stream continued online through the night and activity has increased significantly, with a constant stream of events visible by the morning
Great Conjunction: A remarkably still and clear sky, hindered only by occasional passing bands of cloud, allowed CEB, JAG and GKWJ to observe the Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter through the 10-inch. The separation between the planets was down to just 9 arcminutes. A group of Friends joined a live stream of the event via Zoom. All four Galilean moons of Jupiter were clearly visible and Saturn's moon, Titan, became visible as the sky darkened. This was a truly historical observation of the Great Conjunction as the planetary pair have never been viewed this close together through a telescope. Unfortunately, the forecast for the 21st, when the planets will be at their minimum separation of 6 arcminutes for this conjunction, is for cloud, so it is probable that the view today will be the best we are allowed
Friends Observing: Beautiful clear skies finally returned, allowing a group of over a dozen Friends to meet on Zoom and enjoy a tour of objects in the Winter Hexagon live streamed from the 10-inch. CEB first spoke about the Great Conjunction, showing GKWJ's photos from the 15th and the 19th, including a view of Jupiter and Saturn in the same field of view through the 10-inch. The Winter Hexagon was introduced with a photograph of the area. We then went live with Betelgeuse seen through the 10-inch. GKWJ was in the Dome at the controls. The tour moved to Castor, where the 5 arcsecond double was easily and beautifully split. We attempted to split Procyon, but failed, Procyon A being just too bright to allow a view of Procyon B. We moved to Alnitak and could split this double, with a separation of just 2 arcseconds. Next, the Trapezium in the Orion Nebula (M42), with a long exposure teasing out a beautiful view of the surrounding umbrella of pinkish HII nebulosity. From star birth on to star death with supernova remnant, the Crab Nebula (M1) and planetary nebula, the Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392). Finally, we found the Intergalactic Wanderer (NGC 2419), a globular cluster so named as it has moved far from the main concentration of the Milky Way's globular clusters and is some 270,000 light years away. Asked by a Friend what the most distant object visible would be, the best response tonight was the galaxy PGC 3129208 that lies in the same field of view as NGC 2419, but is located about 1.1 billion light years from Earth!
Great Conjunction: JAG and GKWJ returned to the Dome to observe Jupiter and Saturn again, this time joined by CEB. Gaps in the clouds and the trees allowed the planets to be seen in the 10-inch. Their separation now down to 15 arcminutes, the two planets occupied only half the eyepiece field of view. Images were taken through the 10-inchMore news...