Digital Astronomy

Cartoon of galaxy

In this Digital Astronomy course, you’ll be using a range of apps on mobile devices and home computers, plus a virtual reality planetarium. The course aims to ignite curiosity in space and develop digital skills to help you navigate the night sky and plan your observing evenings.




Melanie Davies FRAS




20th April 2021


11th May 2021


6.30 – 8.30pm




Live Online


4 Weeks



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

Course Overview

If you’re interested in learning about astronomy, but are not yet ready to venture outside on cold dark nights, this interactive evening course is a really good way to grasp the subject. Learning about the amazing objects within our Solar System and the Galaxy beyond is perhaps a better way to start this fascinating hobby than buying lots of kit and not knowing what you’re looking at!

This 4-week online course will immerse and engage you with the wonders of astronomy through hands-on activities using iPads, smartphones, and VR headsets. You’ll be actively learning through digital media – including the leading digital planetarium software, Stellarium – punctuated by activities and exercises to consolidate learning. During the course you’ll be learning about the Sun, planets and moons of the Solar System; Messier objects, including galaxies, nebulae and star clusters; you’ll learn about the sizes, composition and distances of these objects. So, by the end of the course, you’ll be ready to point a telescope or binoculars skyward and have a deeper understanding of what you’re looking at!

No previous astronomy knowledge is needed for this course, but familiarity with digital technology is a must.

How will I be taught?

You’ll join the virtual classroom from home and will interact with your tutor and fellow students in real time. All learning styles are catered for: visual (seeing), auditory (listening) and kinaesthetic (doing). Which means… plenty of live presentations, including images and video; lecture-style talks with Q&As; plus downloadable hand-outs, quizzes and hands-on activities. Once you’re fully enrolled, you’ll be given access to the Online Course Page on Google Classroom, where you can chat to your tutor, download resources, and catch up on presentations if you miss any.

What will I need?

• Computer with built-in camera and microphone
• Zoom download (
• Strong internet connection
• iPad (or equivalent)
• Stellarium app for mobile (around £2.70 from App Store/Google Play)
• Stellarium download for desktop (free at
• VR glasses (around £10 from Amazon)
• A4 notepad and pen
• Folder or ring binder for printable downloads

After studying this course you should be able to:

• Download and use a variety of digital apps for smartphone or tablet
• Download and operate free planetarium software on your home computer
• Identify and analyse a number of astronomical targets including star birth nebulae, globular clusters, and supernova remnants
• Discuss facts about Solar System objects including planets, moons, asteroids, and dwarf planets
• Demonstrate knowledge about orbits and the gravitational influence of the Sun

What if I’m uncomfortable with online learning?

Some of you would rather be in a classroom. But until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, this won’t be possible. We’re hoping that during 2021, things will be back to something a little more like normal. If this is the case, we’ll run some of our astronomy courses face-to-face in a classroom in Hastings.

How does online learning work?

To access the virtual classroom online, you’ll need a computer 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…

“This course was amazing! It was well so presented and I absolutely loved using Stellarium. More please!”

Student, Digital Astronomy

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