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Keele Observatory

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I've been meaning to get up to Keele for a look through their scopes for a few years (made it once and it clouded over!). I finally made it up on Tuesday and had a really good night. It was fairly busy, which may be partly due to panstarrs. The 24" reflector is out of action at the moment but the 12" refractor is worth a look. With a focal length of around 4 meters it is huge. The kid in me enjoyed just being at a 'proper' observatory - ie a big dome with a huge scope in.

My first viewing was outside the obsy at panstarrs through a 10" meade SCT. The tail was an obvious large fan shape. Inside I had a few looks at Jupiter through the 12" frac. Although not prolonged observing the most obvious diference from my 10" reflector was the contrast and darkness of the belts. The GRS was just coming into view too. The Eskimo nebula central star looked much brighter than I had seen it before and M42 showed loads of intricate detail. Whilst it's only a small taster you get a good feel for what an instrument like this is capable of.

Can't to go back up when Saturn is better placed, and also to look through the 24". Next time I go up I will put a message on the forum and anybody close to Dudley is welcome to come up with me.

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Just had a google at the Grubb refractor and does look a beast for sure. Seems there has been a lot restoration work has taken place and found this interesting to read. Hope some clear nights come soon for you to revisit.

Clear skies soon,

James

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I really must go and see this observatory sometime as I have a friend that doesn't live a million miles away.

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James - Yes it is a beast and incredible piece of kit for it's age. Like you say alot of work gone into it.

Astrostroll - if you visit your friend then a trip to the observatory is worth it.

Steve - I will send you a message next time I make the trip.

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I'm just down the road from Dudley, close to the Asda on the wolvo road, I've been once and it clouded over as soon as I got there, they do solar viewing Saturday afternoons too. It's an ace place and even though when I went it was empty a few of the staff members where happy to give me a tour and talk though scopes with me, very nice people and a very nice observatory x

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I saw the mirror on the 24" a few mths ago (maybe a year) and was amazed. you would hardly have been able to see your own reflection in it. Makes you realise how dirty they can get. (and still be useable)

Edited by auspom

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I'm just down the road from Dudley, close to the Asda on the wolvo road, I've been once and it clouded over as soon as I got there, they do solar viewing Saturday afternoons too. It's an ace place and even though when I went it was empty a few of the staff members where happy to give me a tour and talk though scopes with me, very nice people and a very nice observatory x

Yes it clouded over the first time I went , despite the forecast. The staff are very friendly, very relaxed about letting you have a good look around. I may try to go up one Saturday.

I saw the mirror on the 24" a few mths ago (maybe a year) and was amazed. you would hardly have been able to see your own reflection in it. Makes you realise how dirty they can get. (and still be useable)

I know what you mean. I've seen a 20" mirror of a truss dob with no cover looking like it was covered in dust. I panic if I notice a small spec on my mirror.

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i live 30mins away and have never been!! but went half-way round the world to watch the last shuttle take off!!! shame on me i know...

Edited by estwing

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i live 30mins away and have never been!! but went half-way round the world to watch the last shuttle take off!!! shame on me i know...

I think that's often the way. The closer you are the less likely that you will visit! I used to work in Bath, and lived close by most of my life but only visited the Herschel museum a few years after I moved up to Dudley.

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get this.. not been alton towers for 16yrs and my daughter works there(4miles away) and gets free entry tickets..worse still in-laws live in alton and get 40,thats 40 free tickets a year to compensate the traffic in the village and i haven't used any of those :rolleyes:

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get this.. not been alton towers for 16yrs and my daughter works there(4miles away) and gets free entry tickets..worse still in-laws live in alton and get 40,thats 40 free tickets a year to compensate the traffic in the village and i haven't used any of those :rolleyes:

You take the prize with that one!!

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Hello everybody,

I thought I would post a few notes in reply to this item. Firstly, you are all welcome to visit the Keele Observatory; please see the website www.astro.keele.ac.uk/Observatory for opening times and other events, as well as a history and image gallery. The main instrument for viewing is the Grubb "Oxford" 12in refractor; we try very hard to keep this telescope running at all times. Saturday afternoons we have a 40mm Coronado Halpha solar telescope (to be upgraded soon) and 90mm whitelight-projection system available. Also we have a 10in Meade Schmidt/Cass, and a pair of 6in battleship binoculars in the Runoff roof shed. If we have the personpower available we can set up the 8in Davies Bequest refractor in the viewing circle. We have other instruments on display, some good, some *bad*, as well as some books, maps, bits and pieces, mostly for "rainy day".

The 24in reflector is currently mid-stage in a motor & controller update, we hope to be doing engineering trials on this very soon. I emphasise that you do not look through the 24in (except for alignment/collimation testing), it is purely a light bucket. Currently we have an SBIG ST7/CFW8/coma-corrector stack on the scope, but we have plans to upgrade this next year (cross fingers). You may wish to make a daytime Saturday visit in advance of a Tuesday evening visit to familiarise yourself with the layout of the building and scopes.

I look forward to seeing you at the Observatory,

Dr James Albinson, of the Support Group.

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if i wasn't workin tues night i'd be there...but gotta pay dem bills!

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I popped up there last Oct when there was an open day at the Uni - but unfortulately the observatory was closed by the time I got there - shame. Took a photo none-the-less... ;-)

1350317797.jpg

Hopefully my son will get the grades required to get him into Keele, then I'll be making a few more visits and might get to see inside next time ... ;-)

Mike

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My son is a student at Keele. Visited the observatory on several occasions, enthusiastic staff, impressive telescopes, especially the refractor. Unfortunately, I've only managed one clear Tuesday night that coincided with my visits. I had a superb view of Jupiter at 200x through the Grubb, earlier this year. Plenty of fine detail visible in the belts. Well worth a visit, solar viewing on Saturday afternoons. Best of luck with the weather though!

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Hello everybody,

I thought I would post a few notes in reply to this item. Firstly, you are all welcome to visit the Keele Observatory; please see the website www.astro.keele.ac.uk/Observatory for opening times and other events, as well as a history and image gallery. The main instrument for viewing is the Grubb "Oxford" 12in refractor; we try very hard to keep this telescope running at all times. Saturday afternoons we have a 40mm Coronado Halpha solar telescope (to be upgraded soon) and 90mm whitelight-projection system available. Also we have a 10in Meade Schmidt/Cass, and a pair of 6in battleship binoculars in the Runoff roof shed. If we have the personpower available we can set up the 8in Davies Bequest refractor in the viewing circle. We have other instruments on display, some good, some *bad*, as well as some books, maps, bits and pieces, mostly for "rainy day".

The 24in reflector is currently mid-stage in a motor & controller update, we hope to be doing engineering trials on this very soon. I emphasise that you do not look through the 24in (except for alignment/collimation testing), it is purely a light bucket. Currently we have an SBIG ST7/CFW8/coma-corrector stack on the scope, but we have plans to upgrade this next year (cross fingers). You may wish to make a daytime Saturday visit in advance of a Tuesday evening visit to familiarise yourself with the layout of the building and scopes.

I look forward to seeing you at the Observatory,

Dr James Albinson, of the Support Group.

I'm ashamed to say that it's less than 20 minutes away for me and I've never been and visited. To demonstrate how astro idle I am, my wife has been a student at Keele for 2 years and I've worked at the science park a couple of times visiting a site my company has there. <hangs head in shame>

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think you've just taken my biscuit simon!

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