Astronomy for Beginners

Learn basic Astronomy

Astronomy / March 19, 2016

Sunset at King's Hat New Forest, by Ed Merritt,

- 9:00pm

Would you like to learn about the night sky, recognising constellations, understanding the solar system and deep space? We are running a 4 week course suitable for beginners that will help you to learn more about the amazing night sky as well as how to use the equipment needed to see what is not visible with the naked eye.

This course is taught by Stephen Tonkin of Fordingbridge Astronomers. You will learn all the skills that you need to start your astronomy adventure, each week if the night is clear you will have the opportunity to put what you have learnt into practice with an observation session, of about 1 hour (it gets a little chilly after that!)

This course is run in a small group so there is plenty of opportunity to tap into Stephen’s expertise and you will receive lots of guidance throughout the course.

Week 1: What is Astronomy? In this session an introduction to help you get started and make sense of the night sky including constellations.

Week 2: Observing Equipment what do you need to observe the night sky? This session will help you understand the characteristics of different aids as well as how to choose and set up you telescope. We will also look at the value of binoculars for astronomy.

Week 3: Deep Space: This session takes us to deep space and the various classes of deep space objects such as galaxies, clusters and nebulae. You will learn how to observe them and discuss what they teach us about the universe.

Week 4: The Solar System most of us can name some of the objects in the solar system, in this session you will delve deeper and learn not only the various bodies that make up the solar system but also solar system phenomena such as eclipses and meteor showers.

If the sky is cloudy you will have the opportunity for discussions sessions such as Extra-terrestrial Intelligence, the Size and Age of the Universe, the Danger of Asteroid/Comet Impacts on Earth or a subject chosen by the course participants.

Using presentations, astronomical models and demonstration you will learn basic effective astronomical observation and observing techniques and also object recognition, effective choice and use of observing equipment and observing aids.

Is this course for me?
This is an ideal course for beginners to learn about what is in the night sky and how to observe it.

When and where?Blashford Lakes is in the New Forest, situated to the north of Ringwood

What do I need to bring?

  • Binoculars and/or telescopes if you have them
  • Warm outdoor clothing (dress for about 5 or 10 degrees below expected minimum temperature).
  • Comfortable, sturdy footwear for walking outdoors

Stephen Tonkin

Stephen Tonkin is an active member of Fordingbridge Astronomers. He has taught astronomy to adults and children for over 30 years and has written books and magazine articles on practical astronomy. He is currently a STEM ambassador with a special brief for astronomy and has a monthly column in BBC Sky at Night magazine, for which he also writes equipment and book reviews.

Venue location

Blashford Lakes Education Centre,