June 2022 – News

30th June

Scholars Visit: 9 Remove Scholars with their current tutor and next year’s tutor visited the Dome with GKWJ. The question ‘Are we alone?’ was considered, with an in-depth look at the search for extraterrestrial life across our galaxy, including the Drake Equation, which gave a result of 3.75 intelligent civilisations currently resident in the Milky Way – the search for them continues…

20th June

Radcliffe Society: The final meeting of the year was enjoyed by ten members of the society who joined GKWJ, JAG and CJW at the Dome for an attempt to launch two small model rockets. Three sizes of motor were available: A, B and C, increasing in power. The first task was to establish safe practice for launch and landing. Wind speed, direction and maximum altitude were accounted for to identify a safe landing zone. Two A motor launches were completed successfully, with measurements taken of altitude and distance, max altitude being 63m. The first B motor launch was then attempted. Lift off was a success, but the parachute descent was far slower than predicted and the rocket found its landing spot in a tree. The parachute of rocket number two was modified to decrease its descent duration and it was launched. Unfortunately, whilst it did indeed descend more rapidly, it too found a tree, albeit a different tree, as its landing spot. Max altitude of the B motor rocket was 124m. No C motor launch was attempted. Much fun was had by all and some interesting science was carried out. Next meeting: 19th September

14th June

Outreach visit: 18 members of Owl Class (Years 5 & 6) from Oare Primary School, together with a teacher and two parent helpers, enjoyed a guided tour of the Observatory with JAG, ably assisted by a L6 pupil. There was much excitement as they looked at the Sun through eclipse glasses and realised that it appears to be the same size as the Moon, being 400 times larger but also 400 times further away from us. Inside the Dome, they appreciated the importance of red light in maintaining night vision, watched their pupils shrink as the white light dazzled them, opened and rotated the roof, admired ’the oldest computerised telescope in the world’ and asked lots of excellent questions, the last of which was ‘Can we come back for another visit when it’s dark, please?’

8th June

Observing: The twilight waxing Gibbous Moon was observed by GKWJ and JAG, who were carrying out tests of two new eyepieces. Purchased with help from the Friends and funds raised by the sale of two redundant eyepieces, the new Tele Vue eyepieces offer optimum quality for increased magnification observing with the 10-inch. Copernicus, Tycho and Clavius craters were viewed at 140x magnification with a 27mm Panoptic and 224x with a 17mm Nagler. The contrast and detail were superb, despite the poor seeing, and the eyepieces will definitely enhance future observing