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Blackett Observatory Dome
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Marlborough College
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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

What's Up - Week of 19th February

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 19.21 UT at the start of the week and 19.33 UT at the end

  • The Moon is waxing and will be First Quarter on Friday

  • The Sun is blank again as spot 2699 disappears

  • Elon Musk's red Tesla is now more than 2.5 million km from Earth and shining at 19.3 magnitude

  • There are no ISS passes this week

  • There are two bright Iridium flares this week on Wednesday at 17.52.55 at 12 dgrees in W and at 19.47.19 at 47 degrees altitude in SE


Random Blackett Image
Full Moon in Binos, showing the pattern seen by eye (leftwards leaping hare \!?)

News - 14th February

External lecture: CEB delivered the 36th Astronomy for All talk 'Victorian Phoenix', the story of the Barclay Equatorial, at Green Templeton College, Oxford

8th February

House visit: 10 pupils from PR Shell came up to the Dome. The sky was cloudy

Next House visit: The last visit of the year for Shell pupils will be on Thursday 22nd February (TU)

6th February

Art project: A sixth form pupil came up to the Dome to take copious images for his Moon themed project

4th February

External visit: JAG & GKWJ hosted a group of 3 adults and 2 children (ages 6 and 4). Thick cloud started to clear just in time to commence the evening with an ISS pass. Perfectly clear skies ensued for about an hour. Orion, The Plough and Polaris were identified outside. Variations in star colour were observed through the 10 inch, with Alpheratz (blue-white), Scheat (orange-red) and the double, Almach (orange and white). Next, The Double Cluster, then on to M31. Outside to see Pegasus, Andromeda, Perseus and Cassiopeia to place the objects viewed. Finally we observed Uranus in the 10 inch

1st February

House visit: 10 pupils and a House tutor from NC Shell came up to the Dome. The evening was cold and there were gaps in the cloud. The bright Moon appeared on occasions and by the end there was enough of a gap for most to view the Trapezium in M42

Next House visit: Thursday 8th February (PR)

GCSE observing: Perhaps the last chance this winter presented itself, though in the swamped light 'pollution' of the just post Full Moon. 1 hopeful Remove came up and all 4 Hundred. The sky then remained cloudy till after 10pm, at which point we were able to swing into action. Star counts were done and a drawing of both M42 and M31. For the first time images were taken via SLR through the 10 inch of M31, which showed the bright nucleus and central few minutes well. The evening finished at 11pm

30th January

External visit: 5 year 10 pupils and their teacher from in WLSA Fudan Academy, Shanghai came up to the Dome. The evening was cloudy

House visit: 14 Shell pupils and a House tutor from MO came up to the Dome under cloud and drizzling skies

Next House visit: Thursday 1st February (NC)

25th January

House visit: 14 Shell pupils from MM came up to the Dome. It was largely cloudy, though Sirius made an appearance

Next House visit: Tuesday 30th January (MO)

18th January

House visit: 10 pupils from LI Shell came up to the Dome on the first really clear night this term. M45 was viewed in Binos and M42 the Great Orion Nebula in the 10 inch. Several sporadic meteors were seen

Next House visit: Thursday 25th January (MM)

GCSE Observing: All 4 Hundred, and all bar 4 of the Remove, came up to the Dome. With no Moon and initially good Seeing the conditions were ideal for Star counts in and out of the MW plane and drawings of M45 and M42. Photographs of M42 were taken on tripod and via a new adaptor using the 10 inch with suprising success and great colour contrast in the nebula. Remove drawing and star counts in Orion were attempted. Several more sporadic meteors were seen. The Seeing declined during the evening.

11th January

House visit: 9 pupils from IH Shell and a Tutor came up to the dome. The evening was cloudy

Next House visit: Thursday 18th January (LI)

8th January 2018

Charity evening: JAG and GKWJ hosted 'An evening with the Stars' as a charity evening for 9 adults, who had won the auction prize in aid of SWIFT Medics (Wiltshire). The night was crystal clear with no Moon with a temperature of -1, feeling like -6 in the wind. Uranus was viewed in the 10 inch. M45 in Binos, M42 in the ETX and the the Perseus Double cluster in both. The 10 inch then viewed the Trapezium in M42 and then M1. The 10 inch was then used to split Castor and Alnitak (just). Finally Open clusters with Christmas tree and 15 Monocerotis, M35, M36, M37 and M38. A great start to 2018

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