Blackett Observatory Dome
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Marlborough College
Oxford Astrophysics
Green Templeton College

Friday 20th September, 6.30pm Friends 15th anniversary drinks at Observatory

What's Up - Week of 16th September

    Astronomical twilight ends at 21.15 BST at the start of the week and 20.57 BST at the end

    The Moon is waning and will be Last Quarter on Sunday

    The Sun is totally blank again

    The ISS returns this week making evening passes as follows: Thursday at 22.11.44 from SSW to SSW reaching 13 degrees. Friday 21.23.54 from S to SE to 18 degrees an 22.59.12 WSW to WSW to 10 degrees. Saturday 22.20.50 SW to SSW to 34 degrees and Sunday 21.22.35 SW to ESE to 33 degrees and 22.58.49 W to W to 17 degrees


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Projects - GCSE Drawings

News - 17th September

External visit: JAG and GKWJ hosted an external visitor for an early afternoon solar viewing. The Sun was completely blank as expected, though a few small prominences were seen

House visit: A beutiful clear night for the first Shell House visit of the academic year took place saw GKWJ hosting 11 pupils from B1 a House Tutor and House Master and his son. The group arrived as Nautical Twilight began and watched the bright stars Vega and Arcturus appear. Jupiter and Saturn were then viewed through Binos, ETX and 10 inch

Next House visit: Tuesday 1st October (BH)

GCSE Astronomy: 11 pupils from the Remove Astronomy set came up to the Dome and as Astronomical Darkness fell they were introduced to the night sky and did constellation drawings, supervised by GKWJ and DGR. Saturn and the Cassini Division were viewed in the 10 inch, Mizar and Alcor in the ETX and M31 in Binos. Finally the waning Gibbous Moon rose thorugh wispy cloud. Altogether a great start to the year

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 Russia, 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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