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Skyguide Courses

The Monthly Skyguide (12 weeks)
Steve Parkinson BSc, PGCE

This is one of the most popular Skyguide courses,
Using a portable planetarium we waltz through an astronomical year taking in the constellations, stars, planets and deepsky objects that can be seen easily by the beginner. Each week we study one month and create star charts to aid observation.
Students are encouraged to use the naked eye, binoculars or small telescopes to extend their vision and there are opportunities to view the Moon and planets through a telescope (weather permitting!) In addition, basic astronomy topics are covered which act like a skeleton upon which to hang any further knowledge: What is a star? What telescope should I buy? How can I see auroræ? What is the difference between a moon and a planet, a nebula and a galaxy? How did the Universe start and how will it end? Is there life or intelligence out there?
The focus is very much on hands-on practice and demonstration and no mathematical or scientific background is assumed.

This course has been hosted by the University of Bristol for the past 15 years but has been discontinued because "funding is no longer available". It seems that Bristol University has little interest in community education and the Chair of Public Understanding of Science likewise.

I am very keen to find a new home for this course, either as a series of evening classes or a residential weekend - I require a lecture room with enough space to house the portable planetarium (8m x 8m x 4m) plus tables and chairs for up to 25 people. If you are interested, then contact Steve.

  • The Monthly Skyguide:   TBA    

  • Observing the Solar System
    John Meacham, CEng MIMechE

    This six-week course will show you how to observe objects such as planets, the Moon, stars that change their light, deep sky objects, star clusters and galaxies. We will also include comets, asteroids and meteor showers. The use of all types of astronomical instruments will be covered together with visits to a local observatory. This course could be an ideal accompaniment to the Monthly Sky Guide.

    • Observing the Solar System:  TBA   

    The Seasonal Skyguide (5 weeks)
    Steve Parkinson BSc, PGCE

    This is a shortened version of the Monthly Sky Guide which uses a portable planetarium to identify the principal constellations visible each season, together with the astronomical objects they contain. Each week students spend half an hour inside the Stardome then proceed to annotate a starchart. Five basic topics of astronomy are covered: co-ordinate and magnitude systems; what are stars?; choosing and using astronomical instruments; observing the Moon and planets; observing deepsky objects. There will be opprtunities for real telescopic observing if weather permits.

  • The Seasonal Skyguide: TBA

    Page last modified on 2011-01-04 © S.R.Parkinson