Astronomy Courses at the Observatory

Courses For All




Probably the best astronomy course in Hampshire....

"Evening class observing with Giant Binoculars"


Astronomy affects our lives in many ways: -

  • The Sun provides our energy to live.
  • The Earth’s spin gives us day and night.
  • The Earth’s axial tilt gives us the seasons.
  • The Earth’s orbit gives us our calendar.
  • The Moon causes tides and eclipses.
  • The Moon plays a vital role for life on Earth.

Astronomy is the oldest science and throughout the ages mankind has had a fascination for the night sky. This is a twenty-week course, held on Monday evenings from 7.15pm to 9.00pm at Clanfield Observatory, starting on 15th September 2014 concluding in March 2015. The course is intended to introduce a basic understanding of astronomy with an emphasis on activities carried out by amateurs. (Please bring memory stick on first night).

The Observatory is one of the best equipped in the country, comprising 24, 16 and 12 inch Reflecting Telescopes; a superb 7 inch Starfire, 5 inch Cooke /Beck refractors, all housed in domes. There are also tripod mounted giant binoculars and specialized solar tel-escopes. The course will include use of these instruments, weather permitting.

A well-equipped support building is available, as is on-site car parking.

When applicable, video/DVD and computer generated projection will be employed to assist with the description of the topic under consideration. Course notes will be provided electronically.

The course manager, Robin Gorman, is Past President of the Hampshire Astronomical Group, has been involved in astronomy education for 30 years.

The course tutor, Graham Bryant, is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and Chairman of the Group. He has been involved in astronomy for over 45 years, and lectures across Southern England and presented at National and International Conferences. He holds qualifications in adult education.

This very popular and successful course has developed during this time to meet the needs of beginners wishing to know more of this fascinating subject.

Course Curriculum

Topics covered include:

First Term

  • The Origins and Development of Astronomy.
  • The Celestial Sphere - Locating Constellations.
  • Instruments for Observing
  • Moon and Eclipses
  • Formation of the Solar System
  • The Inner and Outer Planets.
  • Comets, Asteroids and Meteors.

Second Term

  • The Sun
  • Types of Stars, Variable Stars, Double Stars.
  • Measuring the Universe
  • The Electro-Magnetic Spectrum
  • Star Clusters and Nebulae, Novae and Supernovae.
  • Exo-Planets
  • The Milky Way and types of Galaxies.
  • Black Holes, Pulsars and Quasars.
  • The Universe

Frequent reference will be made to the current week by week astronomical happenings to encourage observation of these events. It is hoped to observe all the planets of the solar system during the course, which is open to any adult (minimum 18 years) who has an interest in the subject, even if they have little or no previous knowledge of astronomy.

FEE:(ADULTS ONLY) £160 for the 20 week course. This fee includes associate membership of the Hampshire Astronomical Group for the duration of the course. Senior Citizens pay 90% of the fee. Existing HAG Members, already paying an annual subscription, are entitled to a reduction of the fee.

As there is currently a surge of interest in astronomy, the course quickly fills up, so early enrolment is strongly recommended.

A copy of this information is available here as a PDF.

If you are interest in doing this course, starting September, then please contact Robin and we can reserve your place on this popular astronomy course.

The full fee is required by 31st August to complete your postal enrolment. A postdated cheque, 31st August, for your balance, can be sent separately in advance, with your deposit. Late enrolments after this date will require the full fee to be paid.

Please make cheques payable to the Hampshire Astronomical Group.

Note:  Acknowledgement receipts will only be sent on request with a SAE or by providing your e-mail


Dr. Robin Gorman
17 The Curve, Lovedean,
Waterlooville, Hants PO8 9SE
Telephone (023) 92595142