About the Friends

The ‘Barclay Equatorial 10” Cooke (1860) telescope’ installed in the Blackett Observatory in the grounds of Marlborough College and belonging to the school, is the largest telescope in Wiltshire and one of the largest refracting telescopes in the country in full use. After expensive restoration and fitting of a computer drive, which was completed in 2002, it gives astounding views of the Moon, planets (including Uranus and Neptune), star clusters and nebulae.


96% Full Moon
Jupiter with Ganymede in Transit

The telescope has also been equipped with white light and hydrogen alpha solar filters to allow daytime observation of the Sun. Sunspots and solar flares/prominences may now be studied and of course transits observed.


Transit of Mercury (11-11-2019)
Solar Prominences in Hydrogen Alpha

The Council of Marlborough College decided in 2003 to make this stunning facility accessible to those outside the College who might be interested in Astronomy. By becoming a ‘Friend of the Marlborough telescope’ you will receive a Diary of planned events, a contact number to arrange private visits and be invited to attend private observation events during the year (including Solar observations by day)*. There will also be regular lectures, which you will be able to attend in the College, on matters of astronomical interest given by qualified astronomers.


* In view of the vagaries of the English weather, observations though scheduled may be subject to alteration. Cancellation or confirmation of arrangements will be displayed on this website and sent by e-mail (if supplied) on the day.

Friends Resources

Click on a button to access the various resources available to Friends of the Marlborough Telescope:


Become A Friend DIARY OF EVENTS Observing List

For more information please email the Observatory Director, G. James, at gkwj@marlboroughcollege.org