Blackett Observatory Dome
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Marlborough College
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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

What's Up - Week of 20th March

  • Astronomical Twilight ends at 20.20 UT at the start of the week and at 19.30 UT+1 (BST) at the end. The clocks go forward one hour to British Summer Time next Saturday night

  • Monday is the Vernal Equinox. Ths start of the Astronomical Year when the Sun crosses the Celestial Equator at 0 hours RA and 0 Degrees Dec. Sunrise and sunset are due East and West respectively

  • The Moon will wane to New next Week

  • Orange Arcturus, the Spring marker, rises in E around 8.30pm, soon followed by yellow Jupiter and then within a few degrees blue Spica

  • The Sun is totally blank for the 12th successive day

  • The ISS makes no evening passes this week but returns next week

  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week


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Past Events - Summer School Courses - July 2005

News - 21st March

15th Sun-Earth lecture: The annual Vernal Equinox lecture was given by CEB. Titled 'Dreamtime in Neolithic Britain', the talk was given in Science Lecture Room 3 and attended by some 40 pupils and Friends of The telescope

20th March

External visit: A small group of businessmen from Sarsen Technology and Roke Manor came up to the Dome in a clear 2 hour slot. M45 was viwed in Binos and then, for the first time this year, Jupiter in ETX, though at very low altitude. The 10 inch tracked the Orion nebula

9th March

House visit: 10 pupils form PR Shell came up to the Dome for the last House visit of the academic year. The sky was cloudy though a faint lunar halo was seen on arival. A couple of breaks in the cloud gave glimpses of Orion and Sirius

Next House visit: September 2017

4th March

Charity Evening: The Observatory was the venue for a winning auction bid from the Sheriffs' Ball in London last autumn, which raised money for Type 1 Diabetes. 14 visitors came to the Dome in apparently poor weather and only the Moon could be glimpsed at the start. As the evening went on the sky cleared so that the Moon and Pleiades could be viewed in Binos and the Orion nebula seen first in the ETX and then in the 10 inch. The 10 inch was also used to view the waxing Moon at low and then high magnification

2nd March

House visit: 10 Shell pupils from C2 and a House Tutor came up to the Dome. The clouds conveniently parted and allowed M45 (Pleiades) to be viewed in Binos and the crescent Venus in ETX. The 10 inch tracked the Eskimo Nebula

Next House visit: Thursday 9th March (PR)

GCSE Observing: One Hunded pupil came up to use the 8 inch Smith to take images of Lunar features at this early phase

23rd February

House visit: 10 Shell pupils from EL came up to the Dome. The temperature had fallen and the skies cleared. M45 was viewed in Binos and then Venus as a Crescent in the ETX. The 10 inch tracked the Eskimo Planetary Nebula

Next House visit: Thursday 2nd March (C2)

GCSE Observing: In a last ditch attempt to complete Controlled Assessment obsevations including star counts, Messier drawing and photography. Cygnus had set, so Cassiopeia had to suffice for the in-plane counts and M45 and Eskimo PN were drawn

15th February

Oxford Lecture: CEB gave the 34th Astronomy for All lecture in the annual series of public lectures at Green Templeton College, Oxford. 40 visitors from the University, local Astronomical Societies and students attended the talk titled 'Dreamtime in Neolithic Britain' - The importance of hengescapes in safeguarding knowledge

9th FebruaryHouse visit: 12 pupils from C3 Shell and a tutor came up to the Dome. The sky was cloudy

Next House visit: Thursday 23rd February (EL)

2nd February

External visit: 21 Scouts from 2nd Marlborough pack and 5 adults came up to the Dome. The group included years 3 to 6 and even an 18 month old baby, perhaps the youngest visitor to the Dome for a very long time. Sadly the sky was cloudy

House visit: 13 pupils from MO Shell and their HM came up to the Dome. Sadly the sky was cloudy

Next House visit: Thursday 9th February (C3)

1st February

China exchange visit: 6 pupils from China (Hohhot No.2 School in Inner Mongolia and Fudan WLSA Academy in Shanghai) came up to the Dome. The sky was cloudy sadly

28th January

'Stargazing Live' open day Oxford: CEB again was on queue entertainment duty as around 1000 visitors attended the open day for the Astrophysics sub-Department in Oxford. Amazingly the skies were clear and both the PWT and Amateur Astronomical Society telescopes were in action

26th January

House visit: 8 pupils from CO coame up to the Dome. Though only 1 degree it felt much colder in the breeze. The sky was misty up to 40 degrees then clearish. Mars and Venus were located and then M45 in Binos and M42 in ETX. M31 was also located

Next House visit: Thursday 2nd February (MO)

GCSE Observing: 1 Hundred pupil and 3 Remove came up to continue Controlled Assessment. Star counts were done in ETX and Orion and Cassiopeia drawn. The ten inch tracked the Eskimo nebula, which showed a little detail in the nebuloscity

21st January

Open evening: Sadly, after a run of clear nights, the clouds closed in and the evening was cancelled. However, 14 visitors including Friends and College community and 3 young, came up to see the telescope

19th January

House visit: 9 Shell pupils from lI came up o the Dome. The night was very clear, though not great seeing. Mars and superbright Venus were identified and M31 seen with averted vision. M45 were viewed in Binos and M42 in ETX. The 10 inch tracked the Eskimo planetray nebula. Thus the pupils were introduced to both extremes of stellar evolution

Next House visit: Thursday 26th January (CO)

12th January

House visit: 14 Shell pupils from MM came up to the Dome. There was a light covering of snow on the ground but the sleet had stopped. Only the Full Moon and Venus could be seen through the cloud, though Orion was seen in the bright moonlight at the end. The sky was otherwise cloudy. A fine lunar halo was seen

Next House visit: Thursday 19th January (LI)

9th to 18th December

10th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA):Sandor Kruk (PhD student in Oxford Astrophsics Department and Merton College) and CEB led the UK team of 5 students (4 boys and 1 girl) in Bhubaneswar, India. All 5 team members gained awards; 1 Gold (10th overall out of 240 competitors), 1 Silver, 1 Bronze and 2 Honourable Mentions. This ranked the UK 6th out of the 42 countries competing, behind Russia, Iran, India ,China and USA. The effort required in the three 5 hour exams is considerable and we are delighted with the result

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