• 12th February 2022 - Friends Event

    Lunar Observing - Dome @ 8pm

    The Friends will gather at the Dome for an evening of Lunar Observing
    If it is cloudy we will enjoy a presentation and Q&A session
    Check back here nearer the time for updates

  • 24th March - Friends Lecture

    NASA/ESA Sun-Earth Day Lecture - Garnett Room @ 6pm

    Charles Barclay will deliver this year's Sun-Earth Day lecture entitled ‘Shedding light on the Dark Ages – the era of James Webb’. All Friends are invited to attend in the Garnett Room, Marlborough College


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 24th January 2022

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:40 UT at the start of the week and at 18:49 UT by the end of the week
  • With a waning Moon giving dark evening skies, this is a good week to explore the deep sky delights of Orion. From star birth in The Orion Nebula (M42), to the ageing red supergiant, Betelgeuse and the hot supergiant double star, Alnitak, in Orion’s Belt
  • The Moon is Last Quarter on Tuesday
  • The Sun currently has two active regions: AR 2933 & 2934. The sunspot number is 22
  • There are multiple evening ISS passes this week as follows:
    Monday: 17:14, SW to E, max 35° and 18:50, W to SW, max 86°
    Tuesday: 18:02, WSW to E, max 76° and 19:39, W, max 23°
    Wednesday: 18:51, W to NNE, max 84°
    Thursday: 18:03, W to E, max 86° and 19:39, W, max 24°
    Friday: 18:51, W to SE, max 84°
    Saturday: 18:03, W to E, max 87° and 19:40, W, max 25°
    Sunday: 18:52, W to SSE, max 57°


Visit the What’s Up! archive


25th January

Outreach Visit: 15 Cubs with 4 Cub Leaders and 1 Young Leader in Training visited the Dome with GKWJ. It was cloudy

22nd January

Friends Observing: Cloudy skies prevented the ‘Bring Your Own’ observing session from taking place at the Dome, so instead, a group of 15 Friends joined CEB, GKWJ and JAG online via Zoom for a presentation on ‘Observing through 2022’ with questions and answers

19th January

House visit: 11 pupils from NC Shell, their HM and 2 young children came up to join CEB at the Dome. The sky was largely clear and the temperature dropping. The Waning Gibbous Moon was rising in the NE as they arrived and against the trees gave a good feeling for the speed of the Earth’s rotation. The Pleiades were viewed in Binos and then The Great Nebula in Orion (M42) with the Trapezium and nebulosity nicely showing in the 10-inch
Next House visit: Thursday 27th (PR)


GCSE Observing: 10 Hundred astronomers came up to the Dome to join CEB and GKWJ. All were able to view M42 in the 10-inch and then some started their List B projects, either drawing M42 or the Moon and its features at this phase. The others were given a Demo of how to do the “Finding the length of the Sidereal Day using star trails” project and also were talked through the 6 marker question that might come up for this in the exam

18th January

Outreach visit: 14 Cubs and 3 Cub Leaders visited the Dome with GKWJ. It was cloudy
House visit: Due to multiple Covid absences the visit was run over Zoom with CEB cold at the Dome and all the C1 Shell pupils warm in their own rooms or at home. The evening was cloudy
Next House visit: Thursday 20th (NC)

17th January

Radcliffe Society: 16 members joined GKWJ, JAG & CEB at the Dome. A cold and clear evening allowed the meeting to take place at the Dome for the second month running. The full Wolf Moon drowned out all but the brightest targets. The Full Moon was observed through the 10-inch, including with the diagonal and eyepiece removed, allowing the Moon to be ‘held’ in the palm of the hand and its warmth felt. GKWJ set up the 8-inch outside to demonstrate how to capture stellar spectra; five bright stars (Capella, Menkalinan, Rigel, Alnitak and Betelguese) were targeted. The data were then processed on a laptop attached to a projector in the classroom, allowing members to follow along with the procedure. The spectra were calibrated and plotted together, allowing the differences between spectral classes to be clearly seen
Next meeting: 28th February

13th January

House visit: 13 Shell pupils from MO and a Tutor came up to join CEB at the Dome for the first clear Shell night in some time. The waxing Gibbous Moon made for a very light sky and prominent lunar shadows. Polaris and the Saucepan and Orion with Sirius and Betelgeuse were identified along with M32 Andromeda Galaxy just discernible with averted vision. The 10-inch tracked M42, the Orion Nebula where the Trapezium was clearly seen, though the nearby Moon made the nebulosity very faint
Next House visit: Tuesday 18th January (C1)


GCSE observing: All bar two Remove GCSE astronomers came up to the Dome to join CEB and GKWJ. Small instruments were used outside to do drawings of the 83% Moon and then high magnification (x235) drawings of the crater system Gassendi were done through the 10-inch

12th January

Outreach visit: 12 Scouts with 2 Scout Leaders and a Parent Helper visited the Dome with GKWJ. A clearing sky and cold conditions allowed the 77% Waxing Gibbous Moon to be viewed in the 10-inch. Outside, the group enjoyed a sky tour, identifying the Plough, Polaris, the W of Cassiopeia, Alcor and Mizar, Orion and the Orion Nebula (M42)

11th January

GCSE observing: All bar one of the Remove astronomy set came up to the Dome to join CEB and GKWJ. Sadly the sky clouded over and remained cloudy until they all left


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