Astronomy: current developments and suggestions for clear nights

Course Dates: 20/02/20 - 26/03/20
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: International House

Astronomy and space science are dynamic, constantly changing: new telescopes, new detectors, new space-missions and lots of plans. We shall look at some of these things and bring students up to date, with a speculative glance into the future.


What is the course about?

Things in the current night sky
Recent things that have changed astronomy and space science.
Things that will change it even more, soon.

What will we cover?

The plan has to be flexible to accommodate anything significant and interesting that happens before the course starts. These are some of the likely aims:

* to review the current robot exploration of Mars and Jupiter
* to examine the prospects of human-crewed spaceflight
* to anticipate the Bepi-Colombo mission (en route to Mercury)
* to assess progress of the James Webb Space Telescope and the European Extremely Large Telescope
*to discuss night sky news
* to explore the difference 8 and 10-metre class telescopes have made.
* to look at the achievements and prospects of the Hubble Space Telescope
* to explore, briefly, the explosion in amateur astronomy, particularly the use of CCD cameras.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Explain some recent astronomical developments to someone so unfortunate as to have missed the course.
Understand some new discoveries and/or techniques.
Anticipate the value of new instruments/space-missions.
Adopt a more critical and selective view of news items.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The level is suitable for those new to studying astronomy , but a keen interest in astronomy and space research will be useful.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Mainly by illustrated presentations. Questions and contributions from students will be welcome. Discussion will be encouraged.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?


When I've finished, what course can I do next?

HS200 Science guest lecture: Professor Ian Crawford on Astrobiology
HS005 Astronomy a gentle introduction
HS022 Astronomy for fun
HS001 Astronomy at the UCL observatory
HS135 Astronomy in focus: Our connections to the Cosmos
HS132 Science guest lecture: Professor Raman Prinja, the stellar story, from dusty birth to explosive death
HS132 Further cosmology.

Tutor Biographies
Roger O'Brien

Roger has been an amateur astronomer for more than six decades. Professional involvement in astronomy waited until 1995, when he tried teaching. A serendipitous encounter at AstroFest led to enrolment at the University of Hertfordshire, which, in turn, led to graduation with a BSc in Astronomy (with computing) in 1995. Staff at UoH sponsored him as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS) in 1995. Tutoring appointments have included Workers’ Educational Association, Open University, City Lit and the Royal Observatory Greenwich so he teaches a very wide range from very basic (Astronomy a Gentle Introduction at City Lit) to second level undergraduate work for the OU. Roger finds the variety stimulating and still enjoys doing some actual observing. For instance, he is a volunteer Demonstrator at the Hampstead Observatory. On the more theoretical side, he is keen to talk about Cosmology (at the City Lit and for the OU).

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HS213

Thu, eve, 20 Feb - 26 Mar '20

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Full fee: £89.00
Senior fee: £89.00
Concession: £39.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.