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

Perseid meteor shower peaks in the early hours of Tuesday 13th. The Dome will not be open.

The UK Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad team led by CEB all gained medals in the International Competition in Hungary

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

What's Up - Week of 12th August

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 2303 BST at the start of the week and 2242 BST at the end

  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full on Thursday

  • The Perseids meteor shower (aka Tears of St Lawrence, first seen in 36AD) peaks in the early hours of 13th August but, due to the nearly Full Moon, only the brightest will be seen, reducing the normally high hourly rate. Luckily, perhaps due to the large size of the parent Comet (Swift-Tuttle) nucleus, the shower is often full of bright fireballs (more than any other shower). It is worth watching out on Monday and Tuesday (look NE after 10.30pm, when the sky is dark enough and the Radiant in Perseus is high) when the Moon is less evident

  • The Sun is totally blank again

  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week


Random Blackett Image
Past Events - Swindon New College Visit

News - 2nd August to 10th August

13th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA): CEB led the 5 strong BAAO (UK) team to Lake Balaton in Hungary to compete in the International Olympiad. 254 students from 47 Countries took Data Analysis, Theory, Night Obsetation and Planetarium exams over the week. The UK team had its best result out of any of the annual competitions entered since 2015. 1 Gold, 3 Silver medals and 1 Bronze medal were won and this put the UK in 5th= place behind Russian Federation, China, USA and Romania

7th August

Summer School week 4: Just over thirty guests of all ages from a variety of nations, joined JAG and GKWJ at the Dome in CEB's absence and enjoyed a beautifully clear night. The 10 inch tracked the first quarter Moon (Tranquility Base area of topical interest and then Montes Caucasus being particularly impressive on the terminator), followed by Jupiter and all four Galilean moons, then on to Saturn to finish with three moons visible. Outside the ETX toured the Moon, Saturn, M31 and the Double Cluster. Several early Perseids were seen

31st July

Summer School week 3: A perceptively darker and colder evening saw another huge group of of some 50 guests and Tutors com up to join CEB and GKWJ at the Dome. Jupier and the 4 Gallilean moons were viewed in the 10 inch and then Saturn and 2 or 3 moons. An 8 inch reflector was used out side to also view M13 and M31. M31 (Andromeda) was clearly seen by eye at the end of the evening and the Milky Way was also very evident. Several bright meteors were seen including a very bright fireball

24th July

Summer School week 2: A huge group of some 50 tutors and guests came up to join CEB, JAG, GKWJ and DGR at the Dome on a hot evening. Despite the twilight and some high cloud, many objects were seen by eye and a couple of bright meteors (early Perseids?). 2 super ISS passes were seen (90 minutes apart). The ETX looked at M31 and M13 was viewed in Binos. The 10 inch tracked Jupiter which showed good storm bands and the Great Red Spot and the 4 clear Galilean moons. Saturn was veiwed next, rather low so the Cassini Divsion was not clear but the rings were very bright and 3 moons Titan, Iapetus and Enceladus were visible. For the hardy few at the end the 10 inch turned to the Globular cluster M15. Certainly one of the busiest evenings for some time.

23rd July

BAAO training camp day 2: The students came up to the Dome late morning to have a session on solar observing. The Sun was viewed in solar gogles, then using the projection box. The ETX and its white light filter showed the totally blank and smooth photosphere, typical of solar minimum. The 10 inch was then used with the H alpha filter to show a couple of 'small' quiescent loop prominences on the Northern limb

22nd July

BAAO training camp day 1 : The 5 selected pupils form the UK Team came to Marlborough for a 2 day observational training camp in preparation for the International Olympiad in Hungary on 2nd August. After a couple of telescope handling excercises in the day, the team returned to the Dome after sunset. The sky cleared and a number of observational tests could be taken, using binoculars, naked-eye, the ETX elescpes, the Newtonian 8 inch and the 10 inch. Targets included Jupiter (with Io in shadow transit), Saturn and Titan the M29 (Cooling Tower), M71 (Angelfish), M57 (Ring), M27 (Dumbell) nubulae and Mizar and Alcor, Albireo and gamma Delphinus doubles. Several meteors were seen and 2 suerb ISS passes. The evening ended at 1.45am

17th July

Summer School week 1: A group of some 15 Summer School guests aged 10 yrs and up and some tutors joined CEB, JAG and GKWJ at the Dome. Though the sky was cloudy, there was lots to see and as all departed, Jupiter (in Ophiucus) and 3 moons appeared in a cloud gap and was viewed in the ETX

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