Beginners’ Sessions

Beginners’ Meetings List

Brief aims

  1. To enable people who are new to astronomy to find their way around the night sky and to understand what they are looking at.

  2. To provide support and help for beginners wanting to learn how to use a telescope.

Online Beginners’ Programme

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we do not expect to be holding meetings of any kind in our meeting room until sometime in 2021.

Beginners' sessions from Sept 2020 to May 2021 will be online for as long as is necessary and quite possibly through to May. Access to the sessions will be via Zoom and a link will be sent to participants each month within a week of each session. The dates will be as they would have been for physical sessions at the observatory. Full details of the programme with dates can be found below. The programme is based on the results of the survey held during our final pre-lockdown meeting. As normal, each session will have two halves, but without the usual tea break. Presentations will finish after about an hour. Participants will be welcome to stay on for a while to ask questions if they wish to.

It is recommended that all participants download the free version of Zoom as this will make the process of joining the meetings more straightforward. If you have any questions about this, please get in touch using the link below.

New people can join the course at any time by using the contact email below.

Beginners’ sessions contact

For further information and to join the course please contact beginners' organiser, John –

Recommended books

There are many, many astronomy books for beginners. Choosing a suitable book depends very much on your personal preferences – don’t take our word for it!

If you just want to get more familiar with the night sky then StarFinder for Beginners published by DK is a new and beautifully illustrated book well worth looking at.

Another worth considering is Turn Left at Orion by Guy Consolmagno and Dan M. Davis (Cambridge University Press) – 31 Jan 2019 edition. This book is quite expensive and is one to grow into if you have a telescope.

Recommended software

Stellarium – free planetarium software. As you enter the Stellarium website it will prompt you to give it permission to use your location. You should allow it to. In the lower right hand corner of the screen you will find the time and date. The time will likely be wrong. Click on the date and then click on the clock icon (return to real time). The time will immediately change to your current time.

Handouts and links

Links to external sites are provided for additional information. We do not endorse such websites; we are not responsible for, and cannot be held liable for their content.

Observation Targets 2019–20.

CDAS Finding your way around the Moon.

Pete Lawrence's Moon guides (Section 1: The lunar seas).

CDAS Identifying craters on the Moon.

CDAS Understanding the order in which events have occurred on the Moon.

CDAS Session 5 – Guide to the Mare Imbrium.

CDAS Moon sessions 6 & 7 – Interesting telescope targets.

Find the Apollo landing sites.

Finding your way around the sky (pdf of old no longer live website).

CDAS Orion handout.

CDAS Summer Triangle handout.

CDAS Glossary & Resources.

CDAS The development of our modern astronomical world view, including key historical figures & their contributions (Keynote).

CDAS The development of our modern astronomical world view, including key historical figures & their contributions (PowerPoint).

CDAS Our Solar System (Keynote).

CDAS Our Solar System (PowerPoint).

Life cycle of stars.