• 11th December - Friends Event

    "Observing the Winter Wreath" - Dome @ 8pm

    If the sky is clear the Friends will enjoy a tour of the Winter Wreath. If it is cloudy there will be a presentation and Q&A in the warm room on the topic of 'Comets'. So, whatever the weather, this will be a fascinating evening!

  • 13th December - Friends Event

    Geminids Meteor Shower - Dome @ 10pm

    The Friends will gather at the Dome to observe this year's Geminid Meteor Shower. This event is ***Weather Dependent***, so please check back here for updates nearer the time


Marlborough College

Welcome to the Marlborough College Blackett Observatory, home to the largest refracting telescope in Wiltshire. The Observatory is a key facility for the study of Astronomy by pupils at Marlborough College, but is also open to the public through the Friends of the Marlborough Telescope membership scheme.

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What's Up!

Week of 6th December 2021

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:02 UT at the start of the week and at 18:02 UT by the end of the week
  • The waxing Crescent Moon parades past the naked eye planets this week, near to Venus (mag -4.7) on Monday, Saturn (+0.7) on Wednesday and Jupiter (-2.3) on Thursday
  • Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard, currently visible in our pre-dawn sky in binoculars at around mag +7, will become visible in our evening sky this week. Look 40 to 50 degrees further west of Venus at a similar altitude at around 16:30 UT to try and spot the comet. Predictions suggest that it could even become naked eye visible by the end of the week
  • The Moon is First Quarter on Saturday
  • The Sun currently has 3 active regions: AR2901, AR2902 and AR2904. The sunspot number is 35
  • There are visible evening ISS passes this week as follows:
    Monday: 16:59, W to SE, max 46° and 18:37, WSW to SSW, max 12°
    Tuesday: 17:49, W to S, max 18°
    Wednesday: 17:01, W to SSE, max 25°
    Friday: 17:04, WSW to SSW max 12°


Visit the What’s Up! archive


2nd December

House visit: 14 pupils from EL Shell and a Tutor came up to join CEB at the Dome. Bar a brief sighting of Jupiter by eye, the evening was cloudy

30th November

Blackett Science lecture: The 17th annual lecture “New perspectives on the Universe in an era of multi-messenger astronomy” was delivered to a large audience of both astronomy and physics pupils and Friends of the Marlborough Telescope outreach group. The speaker, Associate Professor Samaya Nissanke from the University of Amsterdam, a winner of the Breakthrough 2020 New Horizons Prize in Fundamental Physics, was actually involved in the 2015 discovery of Gravitational Waves. This was an inspirational talk on perhaps the newest area of Astrophysics, generating some excellent questions from the audience

25th November

House visit: 11 pupils from DA Shell joined CEB at the Dome. Bar a brief glimpse of Jupiter by eye, the evening was cloudy
Next visit: Thursday 2nd December (EL)

24th November

Outreach visit: 11 Scouts, 1 Scout Leader and 1 Parent Helper visited the Dome with GKWJ. The evening was cloudy

23rd November

House visit: 10 Shell pupils from CO joined CEB at the Dome. The evening was cloudy
Next visit: Thursday 25th November  (DA)

18th November

House visit: 12 pupils from C3 Shell joined CEB at the Dome. The evening was cloudy
Next visit: Tuesday 23rd November (CO)

16th November

House visit: 11 pupils from C2 Shell came up to join CEB at the Dome. The evening was cloudy
Next visit: Thursday 18th November (C3)

8th November

Radcliffe Society: A small group from the society met at the Dome with GKWJ, JAG & CEB to hear the monthly What’s Up and pupil presentations on ‘Introducing the Space Tourism Market’ and ‘An Introduction to Comets’. Next meeting: 6th December

4th November

GCSE Observing: The Hundred GCSE Astronomers joined GKWJ at the Dome. They found and made sketches of Messier objects using various instruments: M45 – The Pleiades in binoculars, M31 – The Andromeda Galaxy in both ETXs and M27 – The Dumbbell Nebula in the 10-inch. Seven Taurid meteors were seen

2nd November

GCSE Observing: The Remove GCSE Astronomy set joined CEB & GKWJ at the Dome for a cold and clear evening. They completed a worksheet all about coordinates, local sidereal time and hour angle. Five Taurid meteors were seen



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