Course overview

Longer, darker evenings of Autumn provide the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the night sky. We will concentrate on some of the objects (stars and planets) that can be seen over the autumn with the unaided eye. You will be given guidance on how to observe them. Astronomy is a very dynamic subject, and we will consider news stories of note. The course is for beginners/those with some experience and targetted observing challenges will be set. You will be encouraged to undertake independent research (via ‘mini-projects’) and, if you are willing, share with class members. Weekly knowledge quizzes will be set so that you can see your progress.

Course description

The planets Venus, Jupiter and Saturn will be on view in the Autumn 2024 sky with Mars joining the show towards the end of the year. Links to online charts will enable you to find them. We will consider recent findings about these planets and their moons and also other solar system objects.

The main constellations visible will be discussed and you will be set observing targets and shown ‘star hopping’. For learners who live in very light polluted areas, alternative targets could be set.

You will find out about how stars are born and evolve and finally end their lives. We will consider some of the techniques used to estimate properties such as the ages, distances and masses of stars. Be amazed to find out where the atoms that make up your body and the everyday objects we use originate!

You will also be kept up to date with the latest space and astronomy stories.

Important astronomers associated with course topics will be considered and significant anniversaries will be marked.

After thus course, you may wish to consider another WEA Astronomy offer or join your local astronomical society,

Come and join us!

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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