A 5 evening introduction to the night sky. Using 3D graphics, and the real night sky, we explore what is happening above our heads at night. From the Moon, stars, planets, comets, meteors and satellites we explore them all. Each evening will be completed with viewings through the observatory telescopes, weather permitting.
A week by week outline follows.
History of Astronomy
A brief history of Astronomy.
A principally western view that follows some of the more significant threads that took us from an Earth centred model of the universe to a model with no centre at all. The story also includes how we became enlightened about our place in the universe. A very slow realization we have no special place in the universe, and that the physical laws that describe the world about us also apply to the greater cosmos.
We end the evening orbiting a black hole. A symbol of how we have been able to transcend our intuitive understanding of the world, to describe some of the more extreme environments in the universe.
We explore the rhythms of the sky.
From a day, to a year, we look at their formal definition. You may be surprised they may not be what they seem. We explore how they determine what we see in the night sky.
We also develop a model of the Solar System to aid us in finding the planets at night and they way they move.
Can you point in the direction we are all currently travelling about the Sun? All the geometry necessary to answer this question is in the night sky.
The Solar System
We take a contemporary 3D tour of the Solar System.
We explore one theory as to how the Solar System formed. From Mercury too Neptune, we visit Pluto, Kuiper belt objects and comets, and wonder if an asteroid will visit us tomorrow?
We start with the Sun, the most familiar star.
We explore what defines a star, and how they shine. How does a star form, and how does it come to an end? White dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes will feature in this lecture.
We explore the principles of how a telescope functions.
The first half of the evening is dedicated to telescopes, how they work and what to look for in a good telescope. To conclude the course, weather permitting, we will take some observatory telescopes outside and observe the night sky.