0;136;0c0;136;0c 0;136;0c Blackett Observatory - Marlborough College Blackett Observatory
Blackett Observatory Dome
Welcome to the Marlborough College Blackett Observatory, home to the largest refracting telescope in Wiltshire. Learn more...
moon phase info

Solar X-rays Status Status

Geomagnetic Field Status Status
From n3kl.org

SpaceWeather | More weather... Coordinates: 51.25.25 N and 1.44.24 W
Marlborough College
Oxford Astrophysics
Green Templeton College

Sun-Earth Lecture 2019: Thursday 21st March at 8pm in Garnett Room (signed, on East side of Court). C. Barclay 'Reaching young stars' - launching the Astronomy Olympiad'

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day
Four Towers and the Equinox Moon

What's Up - Week of March 18th

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 20.09 UT at the start of the week and 20.21 UT at the end

  • The Vernal Equinox falls this year on Thursday 21st. This is the start of the Astronomical Year. The Sun rises due East and sets due West and we have equal day and night. From now the Northern Summer season begins. The Sun is at 0h RA and 0 degrees Declination, known as the First Point of Aries, due to precession of the Earth's axis, the Sun is now in front of the constellation of Pisces. At noon on 21st the Sun will be directly over the Equator, where, at noon, there will be no shadow. At any other latitude on Earth the shadow length at noon gives an estimate for the curvature and hence the circumference of the Earth. This year an International experimental repeat of Eratosthenes' original expriment will be carried out and the College has been invited to take part

  • The Moon is waxing and will be Full (Spring Moon) on Thursday

  • The Sun is completely blank again though there is Geomagnetic activity (often seen near the Equinoxes)

  • The ISS returns on Friday with low passes: Friday 20.11.48 from SSW to S reaching 23 degrees. Saturday 19.21.21 SSW to ESE to 20 degrees and 20.56.44 WSW to WSW to 22 degrees and Sunday at 20.05.48 SW to SE to 49 degrees and 21.42.11 W to W to 10 degrees

  • There are no bright evening Iridium flares this week


Random Blackett Image
Billions of light years away Hubble glimpses a dense and different Universe full of young galaxies at an early stage of formation after the Big Bang. (NASA, Hubble)

News - 12th March

House visit: 12 pupils from TU Shell came up to the Dome for the last House visit this academic year. Initially it was clear and the waining Moon was viewed in binos and M42 in the 10 inch. Despite the Moon, M31 could just be seen by eye

Next House visit: September 2019

GCSE Observing: 2 Hundred pupils and 3 Remove pupils camwe up to the Dome and a couple of drawings and star counts were done. Sadly the cloud quickly closed in

28th February

House visit: 12 Shell pupils from PR came up to the Dome. The sky was cloudy with light drizle

Next House visit: Tuesday 12th March (TU)

26th February

External visit: 12 year 7 boys and a member of staff from Cothill School 'drew the golden ticket'; the best night for a very long time. Arriving at sunset, the totally clear sky allowed a view of the Earth's shadow in the East and then a beautiful view of Mercury, pink in the twilight. Sirius appeared very early and once dark the sky was superb. Mars and Uranus were viewed in the Binos. M42 the Great Orion nebula was truly 3D in the 10 inch with a clear trapezium in the centre. M31 was viewed by eye and several meteors seen

GCSE Observing: 7 of the Remove Astronomers and a small number of Hundred came up to enjoy the evening and joined DGR, JAG and GKWJ at the Dome and completed drawings of M42 and also M44 the Beehive cluster in Cancer in the Binos. Uranus could just be seen by eye at +5.86 magnitude. Mizar A and B were also drawn and star counts done. A couple of fireballs were also seen. JAG and GKWJ stayed late to complete more astrophotography with an EPQ student

14th February

House visit: 11 Shell pupils and 2 Tutors from NC came up to the Dome on the best House evening this academic year. Though the Moon was bright, the sky was clear. Mars and Uranus were in Conjunction and only 2 degrees appart and were viewed together in the Binos. Uranus some 100 time dimmer than red Mars. Uranus was then viewed at 173x in the 10 inch and showed a clear light bluey disc

Next House visit: Thursday 28th February (PR)

GCSE Observing: All the Hundred year group, bar 2, came up to the Dome to complete one further piece of aided work. M42 was drawn in ETX and M45 in Binos. Star counts were also done in and out of the Galactic plane in the ETX. All also got to see Uranus in the 10 inch

12th February

Scholars visit: 13 Remove Scholars and Exhibitioners attended the Dome for an session of Q & A and briefing on the Space Tomato project (Tomatosphere). Watch https://vimeo.com/98923628 to watch the original 2014 timelapse, which was sent to the Canadaian Space Agency

Prep School visit: 8 year 7 pupils and a member of Staff from Cothill School came to the Dome. Only the Moon was visible in binos and ETX

House visit: 10 Shell pupils from BH came up to the Dome. The Moon was viewwed in Binos

Next House visit: Thursday 14th February (NC)

7th February

External visit: 3 pupils from China (Beijing School No.8 and Hohhot in Inner Mongolia) came up to the Dome with a member of staff from Beijing. The sky was cloudy

House visit: 14 Shell pupis and a tutor from MO came up to the Dome. There were breaks in the cloud, which allowed Sirius and Orion to be seen. M45 Pleiades were seen through the Binos

Next House visit: Tuesday 12th February (BH)

5th February

Medawar Lecture: The 4th Medawar talk was delivered by Professor Phil Charles FRAS (Emeritus at Southampton University) on 'African Astronomy on a World Stage' to some 200 pupils, Friends and members of U3A

31st JanuaryHouse visit: 10 Shell pupils from SU came up to the Dome. The snow just held off till the end

Next visit: Thursday 7th February (MO)

26th January

Stargazing Oxford: CEB assisted in the annual Open Day. Over 200 visitors an hour, of all ages came to see the displays and exhibits on show in the Astrophysics Department. Long queues were served with hot eats. Flash talks were delivered throughout the afternoon, including CEB's on the British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad

23rd January

Public lecture: CEB gave the 40th Astronomy for All lecture 'Reaching young stars' at Green Templeton College in Oxford. A small audience braved the cold night to learn about the new Astronomy Olympiad venture

22nd January

House visit: 8 Shell pupils from LI came up to the Dome on a very bright clear moonlit night. The 15 day old waning Gibbous Moon and M45 wer viewed in Binos and M45 in Orion through the ETX. Though rather washed out by the Moon close by, the Eskimo planetary nebula in Gemini was viewed in the 10 inch

Next House visit: Thursday 31st January (SU)

GCSE Observing

5 Remove astronomers came up to the Dome and sitting in the shadow of the observatory managed to do good drawings of Orion. The also viewed the Eskimo nebula

17th January

House visit: 10 IH Shell and their Tutro came up to the Dome. Though the temperature had fallen and there was a bright waxing Moon, the sky was totally hazy and no stars could be seen. The was a nice, if faint, lunar halo

Next House visit: Tuesday 22nd January (LI)

10th January

House visit: 13 Shell pupils form MM came up to the Dome. The evening was cloudy, though a few stars appeared just as we finished

Next House visit: Thursday 17th January(IH)

More news...