Blackett Observatory Dome
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Marlborough College
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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

What's Up - Week of 26th June

  • There is no Astronomical darkness

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

  • The Sun has two sunspot groups, neither of whih is active

  • Noctilucent Clouds have again been sighted and on clear evenings, it is worth looking west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset

  • The ISS makes no passes this week

  • There are two bright evening Iridium flares: On Monday at 22.51.48 at 25 degrees altitude in W and 22.49.00 at 22 degrees in WNW


Random Blackett Image
Past Events - Public Solar Viewing afternoon - May 2005

News - 21st June

Solstice observing: Despite some high cloud and very warm air, the eclectic group, including Norwood Hall and admin staff, Common Room and associated families, local Friends of the Telescope, that gathered with CEB and JAG had plenty to see. The northernmost sunset point was noticed and, as the twilight darkened, Jupiter was identified and then viewed in Binos and the ETX with 2 moons visible. Arcturus and Vega were next out and then Spica. Though low to the horizon, as Saturn appeared in the light sky, the 10 inch was used to view the rings and then moons, first Titan then Rhea. As the sky darkened a little towards midnight the telescope was turned to the great globular cluster in Hercules, M13 and lastly the Ring planetary nebula, M57

15th June

External visit: 13 year 7 pupils (all boys) and 2 members of staff came up to the Dome for some Solar viewing. The clear sky allowed the Sun to be seen first with Solar goggles then in the Solarscope and the in the ETX with a white-light filter and then in the 10" with a white-light filter. Not only could the mature spot 2662 be seen with umbra and penumbra but a new active group 2663 was evident near the centre of the disc

13th June

External visit: 16 year 7 pupils (all girls) and their teacher from Swindon Academy grammar stream came up to the Dome for Solar observing. The Sun was viewed in solar goggles then the Solarscope and then ETX with white light filter. Finally in the 10 inch with the white light filter which showed the new Sunspot 2662 on the Eastern limb. The Master and his wife also made a suprise visit

26th May

Jupiter photography: JAG and Gavin James spent several hours attempting images of Jupiter

23rd May

International visit: 6 pupils and their teacher from Bishop Coton School in Shimla, Northern India came up to the Dome in the afternoon. The Sun was viewed in goggles and then in the SolarScope and ETX

12th May

External talk: JAG and Gavin James gave a talk in Alderney, at the Alderney Museum, on 'Back Garden Astronomy. There was a good audince of 34 locals attending. The talk was given to encourage the Island's Campaign for Dark Sky srtatus, recently gained by neighbouring Sark

Royal Astronomical Society AGM: At the meeting in the Geological Society lecture theatre CEB was elected Vice President(A) for a two year term. Professor Ian Crawford was elected Vice President(G)

27th April

Royal Society Presentations and Awards: CEB joined Sandor Kruk and other members of the BAAO committee for the Reception and Presentations at the Royal Society to the medal winning team from the 10th International Olympiad in India last December. The newly selected team of 5 and a reserve were also present as they start preparing for the 2017 IOAA in Phuket, Thailand in November. Professor Chris Lintott was there to give the prizes of certificates, books and binoculars and then delivered a talk to a large audience on the possibility of Alien life

7th April

RAS Open meeting: CEB delivered the last of 4 talks at the April open meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in the Geologicl Society's lecture room on Piccadilly. The talk, presented to a diverse audience of distiguished professonal astronomers, was titled The British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad - from inception to International success

6th April

BAAO Selection Camp: CEB joined the other UK Team Leader Sandor Kruk and other Tutors in Oxford on the 3rd day of the British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad selection Camp. 11 year 12 pupils had performed suficiently well in the BAAO papers to attend 4 days of lectures, tests and observing held in the Astrophysics Department in Oxford. CEB delivered a talk on Telescopes and Optics which followed an inspirational address by Professor Bob Williams who was visiting from STSci (ex-President of IAU and the inspiration behind the Hubble Deep Field image) After supper in Jesus, the group gathered on the 6th floor to observe by eye and then with binoculars and telescopes. Bright stars were identified and the Moon and Jupiter viewed in detail. A good ISS pass was also seen. The team of 5 and a reserve will be decided before the end of the week and they will then recieve further training before representing the UK at the 11th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrrophysics in Phuket, Thailand in November

3rd to 5th April

Friends trip to EGO: 17 Friends of the Telescope joined CEB for a 3 day trip to Pisa. The focus of the visit was a morning and lunch at the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) and the Virgo Interferometer facility. We were given a superb talk and tour and are now well briefed and excited about the next Gravitational Wave discovery. We felt very lucky to have seen the Observatory at this early phase of Advanced Virgo

1st April

External visit: JAG and Gavin James hosted members of JAG's family. In gaps between the clouds Mars and Jupiter were seen by eye and the brighter stars as they appeared. The Moon was viewed in Binos and ETXand the M42 in the 10 inch followed by Eskimo Nebula

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