Melanie Davies is an exceptional teacher and I enjoyed her course very much indeed. To be able to attend was a privilege. From a student studying Astronomy for Beginners.Course length: 10 weeks
Start date: TBC
Time: Mondays 7pm – 9pm

Venue: White Rock Hotel, Hastings
Cost: £150

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 planets and other weird and wonderful things in the Solar System, our galaxy and beyond.

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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 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! You don’t need a telescope to enjoy the night sky, but they’re useful if you want to see the rings of Saturn or afar away stellar nursery. During this 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.


After studying this course you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the use of stargazing resources such as star maps, stargazing guides and planispheres to find and identify stars and constellations
  • Use planetarium apps on mobile devices to explore and classify Solar System planets and Messier objects
  • Compare different types of telescope for observing, practice setting up a telescope 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


  • A4 notepad and pen
  • iPad with Stellarium app pre-loaded (optional)
  • Warm clothes and sensible shoes (for trips outside)
  • Folder or ring binder for hand-outs
  • Home or mobile internet connection for access to Course Page


The White Rock Hotel, White Rock, Hastings TN34 1JU

The venue is situated right on the seafront, almost opposite Hastings Pier. We’ll be in one of the hotel’s meeting rooms (up two short flights of stairs) and on clear nights we’ll pop over the road to the beach to observe the nighttime sky. There is a café bar with amazing sea views, serving hot and cold drinks during break time. The hotel is only accessed via steps.


 By bus: The 23 and 26 from the east and 23A and 26A from the west stop right outside the White Rock Hotel
 By train:
Hastings rail station is a 10 minute walk, with trains from Bexhill, Battle and Rye

 By car: The hotel is on the A259 coast road, next to the White Rock Theatre and opposite the pier


There’s a choice of Pay & Display street parking and public car parks within close proximity of the hotel. Not far away there’s free street parking after 6pm on restricted roads, and unrestricted parking just a little further away, but still in walking distance. Blue Badge holders can park at the front of the hotel in the Pay & Display bays (unlimited) or on the double yellow lines (3 hours).

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