Stars and Constellations
February 5 @ 11:00 am - March 5 @ 11:00 am£15.00
A short course in astronomy by Dr. Adrian Jannetta
Week 1: Orion, the Hunter
The constellation Orion is prominent in the southern sky immediately after sunset. In this presentation you’ll learn about the brightest stars: Betelgeuse and Rigel. Find out how to locate and observe the Orion Nebula: a nearby stellar nursery where newly formed stars and solar systems are being created from gas and dust. We’ll also review the basics of binoculars and telescopes for doing visual astronomy.
Week 2: Ursa Major, the Great Bear
The brightest stars of Ursa Major are known as The Plough and they are traditionally used as a guide for finding the North Star, Polaris. This week we’ll take a look at our view of the heavens; why the stars appear to revolve around Polaris, why the sun, moon and planets travel through the zodiac constellations. You’ll also learn how to star-hop and build up your knowledge of the night sky.
Week 3: Gemini, the Twins
The Milky Way runs through the constellation Gemini and there are numerous star clusters to track down with binoculars and telescopes. This week you’ll learn more about the Milky Way and find out how astronomers can date the ages of star clusters and use them to estimate distances across the Galaxy.
Week 4: Taurus, the Bull
This week provides a superb opportunity to view Earthshine on the night-side of the crescent moon. This week we’ll explore the moon and the surface features which can be seen with binoculars and telescopes. The crescent moons of February and March are often seen against the backdrop of Taurus and the stunning Pleiades star cluster so we’ll take a look at some of the sights to see in the Bull.
Week 5: Virgo, the Maiden
Beyond the stars of Virgo is a vast cluster of galaxies called the Virgo Cluster. This week we’ll journey from Northumberland to the edge of the observable universe and reveal the nature of galaxies and the large scale structure of the universe. We’ll also look at the role played by dark matter in the universe and how its existence was inferred through studies of big galaxy clusters and individual galaxies.
Lectures will be delivered via Zoom. If you haven’t used Zoom before, please go to www.zoom.us and look at the tutorials. Once you have booked, you will find the Zoom invitation in the Online Event Page on Eventbrite. You will also receive an email with the invitation 24 hours before the event. If you can’t find the invitation, please email email@example.com.