Practical Astronomy

Cartoon of Sun and inner planets

An introduction to Practical Astronomy. You’ll learn how to set up and use a telescope, how to recognise constellations and how to star-hop to help you find interesting things in the night time sky. You’ll get very hands-on in this classroom-based workshop, both with astronomical kit and the resources you’ll need to get the most out of it.




Melanie Davies FRAS








10am – 4pm




Hastings TBC


1 Week



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

Course Overview

Do you have a telescope at home gathering dust because you can’t get it to work properly? Have you been given a telescope and have no idea what to do with it? Or would you like to take up astronomy as a hobby and don’t know where to start? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this course is perfect for you.

In this hands-on, one-day workshop, we’ll investigate different types of telescope and binoculars and discuss their pros and cons. You’ll learn how to set up a refractor, reflector and a Macsatov Cassegrain (a mixture of the two); how to balance an optical tube on an equatorial mount; and how to align a finder scope. You’ll learn how to polar align a manual telescope and how best to get a fix with a computerised Go-To mount. But to get the most out of using a telescope, we first need to know what to look for! So you will also get lots of guided practise using star maps, monthly stargazing guides and digital resources. This is a daytime course, so you won’t be doing any actual observing, but you’ll gain the tools and knowledge to start observing at home.

No previous knowledge of astronomy is required.

How will I be taught?

You will be in a classroom with a maximum of 14 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. 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 anything you might miss.

What will I need?

• A4 notepad and pen
• Folder or ring binder for printable downloads
• You could also bring your own telescope (or photos of it) if you have one
• Home or mobile internet connection to access Online Course Page

After studying this course you should be able to:

• Use star charts to recognise and identify shapes made by the stars (asterisms)
• Use monthly stargazing guides and a Moon calendar to determine the phase of the Moon and locate planets on any night of the year
• Download and use astronomy apps for mobile devices and planetarium software for your home computer
• Review different types of telescope and identify which might be best for you
• Operate a home telescope with confidence and start truly enjoying your hobby!

Venue info

Information about the venue – its location, parking, accessibility, public transport routes, etc – will be displayed here once confirmed.

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

“It’s amazing… I’m actually looking forward to using my telescope and am more confident about what I’m looking at!”

Student, Practical Astronomy

Creative Space is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company. Our mission is to educate, inspire and enthuse our audiences by sharing our passion for space.

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