Astronomy for Beginners

Our Astronomy for Beginners course is an introduction to the fascinating world of amateur astronomy. Learn about telescopes and how to get the most out of them. Discover how the Sun works and why we only see one side of the Moon. Find out about the Solar System and its place within the Milky Way.




Melanie Davies FRAS




4th January 2021 TBC


15th March 2021 TBC


7 – 9PM




White Rock Hotel OR Live Online


10 Weeks



Once enrolment is complete, full instructions for joining the course will be sent to you by your tutor.

Course Overview

Astronomy is the study of space and all that resides there. But to amateur astronomers, it’s more about identifying stars and recognising constellations, looking at the Moon and planets in our Solar System, and locating galaxies, star clusters and nebulae.

In this 10-week evening course, you’ll get the chance to do just that. Learning to read the night sky might sound daunting, but with just a bit of practise, you’ll be pointing out Cassiopeia, finding the North Star, and spotting planets! During the course you’ll learn how to set up and operate a simple telescope and how best to use binoculars. You’ll develop a deeper understanding of our own star – the Sun – and learn just enough about the planets to impress your family and friends! You’ll learn about orbits, eclipses and how gravity keeps the Solar System in order. And you’ll discover the wonders of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. You’ll also learn about cosmic recycling and why “we’re all made of stardust”! No previous knowledge of astronomy is required.

How will I be taught?

FACE-TO-FACE: You will be in a classroom with a maximum of nine fellow students. If COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, we will be socially distanced in a large classroom and will all need to wear facemasks when coming closer than 1m to each other, for example for a telescope demo. All learning styles are catered for: visual (seeing), auditory (listening) and kinaesthetic (doing). Which means… plenty of presentations, including images and video; lecture-style talks with Q&As; plus hand-outs, quizzes and hands-on activities. You’ll have access to the online course page once you’re fully enrolled, where you can download resources and catch up on presentations if you miss any.

ONLINE: If it’s not possible to get back to classroom learning by January 2021, or if new restrictions come in half way through, the course will be offered online and delivered via Zoom. You’ll join the virtual classroom from home and will interact with your tutor and fellow students in real time through live presentations and Q&As. The course material will be delivered through live discussions, video, short PowerPoints, downloads and quizzes. Handouts will be available on the course page – you’ll have access to this once you’re fully enrolled.

What will I need?

• A copy of Sky At Night or Astronomy Now magazine
• Philip’s Planisphere (if you have one)
• A4 notepad and pen
• Folder or ring binder for printable downloads
• Warm clothing and sensible footwear for observing on the beach

• Computer/iPad with built-in camera and microphone
• Strong internet connection
• Zoom download (

After studying this course you should be able to:

• Demonstrate the use of stargazing resources such as star maps and stargazing guides
• Use planetarium apps on mobile devices to explore and classify Solar System planets and Messier objects
• Compare different types of telescope for observing and demonstrate best use of binoculars
• Demonstrate knowledge of star formation and how the Sun works
• Explain astronomical terms and show confidence using a wide range of astronomical vocabulary

What if I’m uncomfortable with online learning?

We would all much rather be in a classroom. But until the Rule of Six is relaxed, this won’t be possible. We’re hoping that by January 2021, things will be back to something a little more like normal. If this is the case, we’ll be running all of our astronomy courses at the White Rock Hotel, opposite the pier on Hastings seafront. If we are still in the grips of this coronavirus pandemic by then, we’ll adapt the courses to run online. We appreciate that this is not for everyone, so if you’ve already enrolled and paid, we’ll offer you a full refund or a re-scheduled course date.

How does online learning work?

To access the virtual classroom online, you’ll need a computer or tablet equipped with a camera and microphone. If your computer doesn’t have these, Amazon sell a range of headsets that you can plug in. Then you’ll need to download the Zoom app (it’s free, secure, and easy to use).
Shortly before the start date, your tutor will email an invitation link plus a meeting code and password; clicking the link will take you to the Zoom website, where you can opt to open the application. Click to open Zoom and pop in the code and password, then wait just a few moments to be let into the virtual classroom. You’ll need the code to access the class each week. You can watch a tutorial on how to join a Zoom meeting here:

If you have any questions, or need more info, get in touch…

“Melanie Davies is an exceptional teacher and I enjoyed her course very much indeed. To be able to attend was a privilege!”

Student, Astronomy for Beginners

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Tel: 01424 420968


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