March 2021 News
MCBO Outreach: GKWJ presented a live guided tour of the Blackett Observatory to a Zoom gathering of 50+ members from the Basingstoke and Newbury Astronomical Societies. The audience heard about the history of the observatory and its main instrument, the Cooke 10-inch. The session concluded with a live-stream view of the waxing Gibbous Moon through the 10-inch, allowing viewers to enjoy impressive detail of the Montes Alpes, Rima Suess, Schickard crater and more
Radcliffe Society: Members of the society met online for the March meeting. First, a pupil spoke about his Royal Astronomical Society award winning poster on radio meteor detection. The group then looked back at the three recent missions to Mars, enjoying the Night Sky News video from popular Oxford astrophysicist YouTuber, Dr Becky Smethurst. The session ended with an appraisal of the scientific accuracy of the film ‘The Martian’. Next meeting: 24th May
Sun-Earth Day Lecture: CEB delivered the 2021 NASA/ESA Sun-Earth Day Lecture to a group of Friends, pupils and invited guests via Zoom. The lecture title was ‘The ‘computer’ who unlocked the universe’ – a fascinating look at the work of four of the most influential women in the history of astronomy
GCSE Observing: 10 pupils from the Remove joined GKWJ at the Dome for observing. The session started with a view of the 3 day old crescent Moon in the 10-inch – a marvellous sight! The pupils then made sketches of the southwestern sky, placing Orion carefully with respect to the horizon, meridian and celestial equator. They estimated the right ascension of Betelgeuse, given the local sidereal time and estimated magnitudes of various stars. A most enjoyable return to observing
GCSE Observing: Members of the Hundred joined GKWJ at the Dome for a long awaited observing session. Conditions were windy with fast moving patchy cloud. Pupils made an observing target list, selecting one of each astronomical object type. Observing started outside with the naked eye, finding: Orion, Orion’s Belt, Betelgeuse, The Orion Nebula (M42), The Pleiades (M45) and Mars. The Right Ascension of Betelguese was estimated using the Local Sidereal Time and finding the Meridian. The group moved inside to slew the 10-inch to The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), but unfortunately thickening cloud brought the session to an end. Irritatingly, the sky cleared some ten minutes later!
House visit:7 Shell pupils from PR joined CEB on Zoom for the rearranged Dome visit. This was the last visit this year. Visits will recommence in September (hopefully live)