October 2023 – News
Outreach Visit: 16 members of the Salaam Seekers group from Reading visited the Dome on a wonderfully clear, though moonlit night. GKWJ and JAG gave a sky tour of the principal constellations. The group then moved into the Dome where the 10-inch gave fabulous views of: Saturn and three moons (Titan, Rhea and Tethys), Jupiter and all four Galilean moons, the 95% Waning Gibbous Moon, Almach and the Andromeda Galaxy (M31). The session ended with a return to Jupiter where Io was just starting to transit, its shadow becoming increasingly clear close to the GRS. On leaving, the visitors noticed how far the sky had moved over the course of their visit, using the Plough as a reference asterism as noted earlier in the evening.
OM Visit: An Old Marlburian with her two children and two grandparents visited the Dome with JAG.
Outreach Talk: GKWJ gave a presentation on astrophotography to about 30 members of the Andover Astronomical Society at their meeting place in Hurstbourne Tarrant. The talk was entitled ‘From Smart Phone to Smart Dome’ and featured a number of images taken at the Blackett Observatory and through the 10-inch.
Friends Observing: The recent spell of cloudy weather finally came to an end in perfect time for the first Friends observing event of the year. A beautiful clear and dark sky encouraged 37 Friends to join GKWJ and JAG at the Dome. The session started outside with views of Saturn and Jupiter through the 8-inch Celestron, an ETX 80 and binoculars. GKWJ gave a sky tour of the main constellations, with bonus items: a bright Draconid fireball in the north and a train of recently launched Starlink satellites passing in the west. The group then moved inside to the 10-inch. Targets observed were: M13, the Great Hercules Cluster, Albireo, Saturn with moons Titan, Rhea and Tethys, M57, the Ring Nebula, Jupiter with all four Galilean moons, M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Double cluster and Almach. The session ended outside with a tour of where all the objects seen reside in the sky, views of the Double Cluster and the Pleiades in binoculars, as well as M31 and NGC 457, the Owl Cluster in the 8-inch. It was a superb start to the season, enjoyed by the largest gathering of Friends for observing in some time, if not ever!
Outreach Visit: 11 Scouts and 7 Leaders from the Urchfont Scouts visited the Dome with GKWJ. It was cloudy. Material for the Astronomy Badge was covered, with asterism hunting on Stellarium, navigating the sky with a star chart and the movement of the sky considered in relation to the 10-inch. The Scouts asked a wealth of excellent questions, one leading to the Wetton Meteorite Collection being passed around and discussed.
Outreach Visit: 16 members of the Bradford on Avon U3A joined GKWJ and JAG at the Dome. It was raining. The group were shown around the Observatory and enjoyed a series of images taken through the 10-inch and other instruments.