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The Observatory Science Centre
East Sussex
BN27 1RN
Tel: 01323 832731
Fax: 01323 832741

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Astronomy Courses for 2019

Would you like to learn how to recognize the constellations and navigate your way around the night sky? Would you like to learn more about cosmology, the solar system or life in the Universe? Are you beyond the beginner stage but are still looking to further your knowledge?

We are running 3 different evening courses in 2019 to try and answer these questions and much more!

STAR SEARCH (Spring and Autumn)
ASTRONOMY & SPACE: A course for beginners. 

In addition to the evening courses we are also offering one day courses:

TELESCOPE CLINICS (Spring and Autumn including a NEW Family event for 2019 )
NIGHT SKY PHOTOGRAPHY  (2 separate course for 2019)

These one day courses include food and drink (see below).

Booking is essential for all courses and spaces are limited to 30 per course; 36 for the family Telescope Clinic

See How to Book
Intermediate Astronomy 2019
27th February - 3rd April

Six week evening course

Building on knowledge previously aquired on introductory courses; this course explores topics in greater depth and introduces different subjects.

Although no science or maths knowledge is required the notes that accompany the course will refer to the science and maths that underlies the content. All these sections can be omitted if desired.

To most people astronomy means the stars in the night sky and constellations. Modern astronomers deal with far more than that. It is a dynamic and exciting area of science. Recent (and not so recent) discoveries have revealed a Universe that is, to borrow a phrase from JBS Haldane, not just stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine.

Science does not mean hours in a laboratory with a white coat, to an astronomer science is the birth of the Universe, stars tearing themselves apart in destructive events of huge magnitudes, the collapse of objects into points so bizarre that even the laws of science break down. Yet however strange these might be, science gives us the tools to understand it. This course builds on a basic knowledge of astronomy and goes from the simple observation of the Universe to comprehending the Universe.
We start with an overview of the instruments we use and push beyond the visible to open new vistas. Then we take a look at the Sun and see how science can understand what is happening in the Sun without even using those instruments. When we understand the Sun we can understand the other stars and their lives. Then we expand our horizons even further with an exploration of what the Universe looks like on the large scale.

Over the six weeks we cover several current theories and research areas in modern astronomy, expand on some of the ideas in the introductory course and gain an understanding how modern scientific methods can explore the Universe.

On our journey we will answer questions about what we really mean by relativity and gravity and how they can lead to some of the strangest objects in the Universe. How strange? Ultimately we end up with more understanding but the Universe remains, to borrow a phrase from JBS Haldane, “Stranger than we can imagine”.

Week Session 1 Session 2
1 Introduction                                   

Astronomical telescopes
and instruments
Non optical telescopes                        
2 The Sun as a star

Nebulae and the great debate

Emission, absorption, reflection
and spiral nebulae!
3 The evolution of stars

The ends of stars

4 Gravity, the speed of light
and special relativity
General relativity

5 The Universe on the large scale

The Milky Way as a galaxy
Galaxies and black holes

Wormholes and other weirdnesses!
6 Cosmology

The Big Bang and the creation
of the Universe
Matter, dark matter and dark energy

The end of the Universe

Course content subject to change.

Time           7.30pm - 9.30pm
Date  27 February - 3 April: Wednesdays
Cost   £96 per person

Course lecturer: Jarvis Brand

Numbers are limited to 30 people so book early! Hot drinks can be purchased during the break at the discounted price of just £1 per hot drink.

BOOKING ESSENTIAL: Bookings for this course will be taken from Monday 12th November 2018.

Please phone the Centre on 01323 832731 to secure your place using a debit or credit card. 

We recommend warm clothing for all evening courses and please bring a torch: preferably red light if you have one.

Star Search 2019

Two four week courses held in Spring and Autumn (see below for the dates)

These courses are designed to look at the whole sky using the unaided eye. They will help you recognise the most prominent constellations so you can use them to navigate your way around the night sky. In ancient times many stories were attached to the constellations and we will explore some of these mythologies. You will learn about the Moon and planets and there will be a brief introduction to some deeper sky objects that are often spotted through binoculars. You will also learn how to use a planisphere and star maps. We recommend that you bring a red light torch if you have one and wrap up warmly.

The course is partly classroom based but it is hoped that, weather permitting, there will be plenty of opportunity to translate what has been learned indoors to the actual night sky on clear evenings.
The Centre’s shop sells planispheres, red light torches plus many useful guides to the night sky. It will be open at the start of each evening. 

Time            7.30pm - 9.30pm
Spring  7 March - 28 March (Thursdays)
Autumn  14 October - 4 November (Mondays)
Cost  £76 per person

Course lecturer: Dr Sandra Voss

Numbers are limited to 30 people per course so book early! Hot drinks can be purchased during the break at the discounted price of just £1 per hot drink.

BOOKING ESSENTIAL: bookings for this course will be taken from Monday 12th November 2018.

Please phone the Centre on 01323 832731 to make a booking using a debit or credit card. 

We recommend warm clothing for all evening courses and please bring a torch; preferably red light torch if you have one.
What the students think!

"Have found the course to be an excellent starting point in my understanding of the night sky. From the off we were mapping the sky and the experiences of being guided about the night sky have been the most memorable and pleasurable to me and this has really stuck in my mind. Thank you so much!"

"I love the combination of practical and theoretical and the location is very special"

"The course was informative, pacy and thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you!"

"This course has been better than I expected"

"Thank you so much for a wonderful presentation. I learnt so much"

"Fantastic course - inspiring. Brilliant and appropriate presentation skills"

When asked if the course met with expectations:

"Yes it was brilliant - great balance of observations, factual information well supported with illustrations and stories"

"Yes it did. In fact it went into much more detail than I had anticipated"

"Yes I learnt an awful lot and will be able to build on this" 

"Yes it went above my expectations. Have really enjoyed it!"

"Exceeded my expectations. Lecturer made a complicated subject understandable for someone with little knowledge"
Astronomy and Space 2019
11th September - 4th December 

A twelve week course for beginners (please note there will not be a lecture on the 20th November)

This course is suitable for those with little or no knowledge of the subject. During the course you will be introduced to the basic techniques used in astronomy and construct your own simple telescope. You will learn about the solar system, our place in the Universe, comets and meteorites. You will be introduced to cosmology, life and death of stars, time and its importance in astronomy and discuss life in the Universe. The course also includes a lecture on and visit to the Space Geodesy Facility where they track satellites using powerful lasers.

This course is also designed so that you can take advantage of the Centre's historic telescopes. Viewing is of course weather permitting and due to the nature of the course content it may also not be possible because of time constraints. However, if the weather is good there should be plenty of opportunities for you to look through a large telescope during the 12 weeks.  

Time            7.30pm - 9.30pm
Dates     11 September - 4 December: Wednesdays (Except 20th November)
Cost  £186 per person 
Course lecturers: Dr. Sandra Voss, Dr. Roger Wood, Jarvis Brand and someone from the Space Geodesy Facility.
Numbers are limited to 30 people per course so book early! Hot drinks can be purchased during the break at the discounted price of just £1 per hot drink.

BOOKING ESSENTIAL: bookings for this course will be taken from Monday 12th November 2018 

Please phone the Centre on 01323 832731 to make a booking using a debit or credit card.

We recommend warm clothing for all evening courses and please bring a torch; preferably red light if you have one.
What the students think!

"The course has been great and I'm looking forward to reflecting on the lectures and developing my knowledge."

"The whole course was wonderful and left me wanting more."

"Thank you for a fantastic course."

"I wasn't sure what to expect - but really enjoyed it. Complex ideas but fascinating."

"An excellent course - really enjoyable."

"I didn't know what to expect, but it was great!"
Telescope Clinics 2019 
(Spring and Autumn)

Three one day courses (including food and drinks)

Do you have a telescope but haven't quite got to the bottom of how it works? Do you need some friendly advice? Have you just been given a telescope as a present or is one still sitting in its box gathering dust? Maybe you have bought a telescope for a child and would like to learn how to set it up and use it with them. If you would like to learn how to use your telescope properly then one of these courses is for you!

We are offering 3 courses this year. Two courses for adults only and one family friendly course which is specifically for adults accompanied by children.

For all three courses local astronomy enthusiasts will be able to guide you through your telescope and help you set it up ready to begin your observations. The day will begin with an introduction about telescopes, the terminology used and the parts that make up the telescope and how they work. This will be followed by small group sessions when you get really hands-on. The early evening will be dedicated to looking through your telescope and getting to grips with what your telescope is capable of (weather permitting).

Adult Courses
Spring Date 23 March Saturday
Autumn Date 24 November Sunday
Time 2pm - 8pm
Price £55 per person

Family Course
Date   23 February Saturday
Time 2pm - 8pm
Price £80 for one adult and one child; £55 per extra adult and £25 per extra child. Each additional adult £55; each additional child £25 (max. 2 children for every one adult)

BOOKING ESSENTIAL: bookings are now being taken for these courses
Night Sky Photography 2019 

Two one day course (includes light lunch and drinks)

This course will be aimed at beginners in night sky photography but assumes competence with your own DSLR camera. The morning session will teach night sky photography, painting with light and time lapse videos using a normal DSLR camera and tripod. The afternoon session will progress into using a normal DSLR and camera lens on a driven mount along with demonstrations of setting up and mounting a DSLR body onto a telescope and driven mount. John will also run a session on basic processing using Lightroom and Photoshop and setting up a polarscope.

Spring Date 24 March; Sunday
Autumn Date 6 October; Sunday
Time 10.30am - 4.30pm
Cost £55 per person

Course lecturer: John Fox

John has spent over 53 years in the professional photographic arena and has practical experience in all formats of film equipment up to and including 5”x4” plate cameras.

He won “Photographer of the Year” in the 1983 'Southern Press Radio and Television' Awards and has also won three 'Ilford' awards during his 32 years as a press photographer working both in Sussex and Manchester. Outside of his press photography adventures John has also photographed over 1,400 weddings during his long career.

John switched to digital in 2003 and has embraced the freedom of shooting and editing digital imagery. He gives camera club talks around Sussex and the surrounding counties and is an RPS S.E. Region committee member.

BOOKING ESSENTIAL: bookings are now being taken for this course.

Booking is essential for all courses

How to Book

To make a booking please telephone the Centre and reserve your place using a credit or debit card.

Telephone: 01323 832731

Alternatively we are offering on-line booking for specific events. Please follow the link highlighted in the relevant information section above.

Refund policy: Any refunds will incur a £5 administration charge. Please note; we will not be able to refund any bookings within 7 days of the event taking place.
Click here to contact us
Telephone: 01323 832731