UCL Mill Hill – 2023 November 10th
UCL Mill Hill – 2023 November 10th

UCL Mill Hill – 2023 November 10th

Visit To Jupiter and Saturn from Mill Hill

The skies were starting to clear and the prospects for star gazing were improving when 12 OAS members gathered together on Platform 2 at Orpington Station. It was 6pm on Friday evening 10th November 2023 when we set off for Mill Hill. We changed at London Bridge and met up with 6 other members before proceeding to Mill Hill Broadway. When we arrived we had a 10-15 walk to the UCL Observatory where we were joined by a further 8 members. The night was cold, but there was sense of excitement as the entrance gate was opened and all 26 of us entered the dark grounds of the observatory.

We were early, but our host Dr Mark Fuller put on a DVD about the European Southern Observatory in Chile while we waited for a previous tour to finish. At 8pm Mark began his introductory talk on the history of the observatory which was opened in 1929 by the then Astronomer Royal Sir Frank Dyson.

The first telescope to be installed was a 24 inch reflector built by Grubb of Dublin in 1881 – donated to UCL in 1925. This telescope was subsequently retired in 1974 and placed on permanent loan with the Merseyside Museums. The second telescope installed was the Radcliffe twin 24/18 inch refractor which was brought to London in 1935, having originally been used in the Radcliffe Observatory in Oxford. The following five telescopes are currently at the UCL Observatory:

• 1928 Fry Telescope 8 inch refractor made by Cooke & Sons of York in 1862
• 1935 Radcliffe twin 24/18 inch refractor made by Grubb of Dublin in 1901
• 2000 Celestron C14
• 2009 Celestron C14
• 2018 Perren 80cm reflector from ASTELCO

After the talk we divided into four groups with each group visiting the different telescopes in turn. The skies were clear and the highlight of the evening was viewing Jupiter and its four Galilean moons and Saturn and its rings through one of the Celestron C14 telescopes and through the old Fry telescope.

With the tours of the telescopes over we concluded our visit with a Q&A session and then headed home, safe to say that the UCL Observatory was well worth the trip to Mill Hill.

Prepared by Jim Worthington Nov 2023