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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

Observing Outer Planets (Friends): Monday 25th at 8.30pm (if weather permits)


NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day
How to Identify that Light in the Sky

What's Up - Week of 25th September

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.51 BST at the start of the week and 20.33 BST at the end

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

  • The Sun has two quiet sunspot regions, but 2673 is about to return around the Eastern limb. It is unlikely to be as powerful as 2 weeks ago

  • The ISS returns thus week with good passes next week-end: Monday at 20.19.26 from SSE to SSE reaching 10 degrees altitude. Tuesday 21.01.30 SW to SSW to 18 degrees. Wednesday 20.09.42 SSW to SE to 22 degrees and 21.45.09 WSW to WSW to 12 degrees. Thursday 20.52.55 SW to SSW to 42 degrees. Friday 20.00.46 SW to SSW to 37 degrees and 21.36.51 W to W to 19 degrees. Saturday 20.44.29 WSW to S to 76 degrees and Sunday 19.52.10 WSW to E to 59 degrees and 21.28.33 W to W to 24 degrees

  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week

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Random Blackett Image
Transit of Venus, June 2004

News - 22nd September

Friends 13th annual drinks: On the Autumnal Equinox, 30 or so of the outreach group Friends of the Marlborough Telescope gathered at the dome for the annual drinks party. It was good to see both new members and stalwarts there

13th September

External visit: The chairman of the Friends outreach group and his wife and 3 distiguished Radio astronomers for the Oxford Astrophysics sub-Department visited the Dome. Gaps in the cloud allowed views of mature sunspot 2680 throug h the 10 inch

28th to 29th August

UK Astronomy Olympiad Team training camp: The 6 finalists (aged 16-18) of the British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad (BAAO) competition, who will provide the 5 members of the UK team for the 11th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA) to be held in Phuket, Thailand in November came with one of the Team Leaders to the Observatory for 2 days and nights of training with CEB (2015 and 2016 Team Leader). In the afternoon the sky was sunny and clear and we were able to view the Sun in solar goggles and then the ETX and the 10 inch with white light filters. The mature spot 2672 and a group of small spots were clearly seen. After afternoon training, at 9pm, the Observatory opened for 6 hours of solid observing and testing/training with naked-eye, binocular and telescope tasks. Many individual targets were viewed and M13 and M45 drawn. The 10 inch was in action for magnitude comparison questions and field of view/object size comparison. Targets included M29 (Cooling Tower) Open Cluster and M57 Ring Nebula. Uranus and Neptune were also viewed. The evening remained warm and clear though humidity was very high and the scattered light prevented a really dark sky. By 2am the Pleiades were high in the sky and the Milky Way very clear. Several bright meteors were seen including a few in the 10 inch. The second night was cloudy but hours were instead spent tackling problems and studying star maps and sky projections.

21st August

USA Eclipse: CEB (accompanied by NJB) co-led an Alumni Tour from Oxford and Cambridge to view the Great 2017 US Eclipse. Having travelled 1700 miles from Arizona through Utah to Wyoming, the group of 40 watched from a private venue in Jackson Hole WY below the Teton mountains. We had 2 minutes and 19 seconds of Totality in a clear sky. The Moon's shadow was filmed travelling at 2000 mph and also the shadow band 'snake' phenomenon. The Corona was Y shaped but not extensive and no Coronal shadow was seen. Animal disquiet and confusion was observed in both cows and geese and the temperature fell by some 12 degrees. Venus dominated the dark sky and Mars and Jupiter, Regulus and Sirius were seen

12th August

Perseid meteor shower: A perfect night until the waning gibbous Moon caused too much light pollution. A group of Friends gather at the Dome and recoreded exactly 100 Perseids in just over 2 hours. 6 Fireballs were seen and also the Iridium flare forecast at 23.33

Youngest Friend visit: The youngest member of the Friends of the Telescope (4 yrs old) and his father visited the Dome in the afternoon. In breaks in the cloud we were able to observe the Sun with solar goggles and then in the ETX with a white light filter. The fading large sunspot 2670 was clearly visible

2nd August

Summer School week 4: Despite rain and cloud a group of 20 guests aged 9 yrs and up came up to the Dome with CEB. Even with the poor conditions the evening lasted 1.5 hours

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