Reading the Night Sky

Cartoon stars

Reading the Night Sky is a short course about the wonders of the Universe. You’ll be guided through the stars, naming the prominent ones and placing them among the constellations; you’ll even learn how to pick out the visible planets. You’ll be learning in a virtual classroom and encouraged to venture outside on clear nights.




Melanie Davies FRAS








7 – 9PM




Live Online


2 Weeks



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

Course Overview

Have you ever wondered why the stars change position through the year? Do you want to have a better understanding of the stars and the patterns they make? If you can relate to these questions, well this is the course for you!

In this 2-week online course you’ll learn about the constellations and some of the stories and legends they tell. You’ll learn how to pick them out in light-polluted skies, and introduce star hopping to help you navigate the wonders of the night. You’ll learn about the ‘ecliptic’ and how to use it to find planets. And you’ll discover why stars twinkle and why some have a little colour to them. You won’t need a telescope, but your tutor will demonstrate how to best use binoculars to observe the night time sky. And if you get any clear nights in the week between the two classes, you’ll be encouraged to venture outside to observe what you’ve been learning about.

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.

What will I need?

• Stellarium download (
• 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

After studying this course you should be able to:

• Identify and name several prominent stars
• Describe why some stars are different colours and why they seem to slowly move across the sky
• Recognise visible planets and be able to explain the fundamental differences between stars and planets
• Pinpoint and name several constellations and relate some of the myths and legends associated with them
• Share with confidence your newfound knowledge of the night sky

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…

“Finally – I now know what I’m looking at in the night sky! Fantastic to learn from someone in the know and to get answers to my many questions.”

Student, Reading the Night Sky

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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