The Search for Comets as Celestial Intruders

Ref: C3741216

To investigate the amazing ancient history of comets starting with Chinese records, clues to the work of Edmund Halley and Bayeux Tapestry realising some comets return. Searching BOTH for ‘unexpected intruders’ and techniques to track down known comets which sometimes return close to the Earth will help visual observers and those trying photography. Finally did these objects seed water/life on earth?

Course aim

To search and identify the mysterious comet intruders to the Solar System and how some return as expected but otherwise can cause great surprise

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • The course is open to everyone with the sheer enthusiasm to learn how the ancients unrivalled the mysteries of these strange objects

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Describe the work of Edmund Halley in studying comets and what this achieved
  • Investigate the records of Chinese and ancient astronomers in trackng the paths of new comentary objects
  • Comment on the Rosetta Mission from launch to finally landing and brief details of its achievements
  • Locate minimum five constellations and learn visible using a plansiphere

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • You will be expected to carry out a range of activities in your own time
  • The written results are purely for the student and tutor to compare notes and discuss progress being made in learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • A file of work will be kept which will help to record your progress
  • Tracking a path of a comet may involve drawing which will be marked with comments by the tutor and discussed at the next class session

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Students would benefit from purchasing and bring to class a planisphere (for 51deg North) suited to local location in the northern hemisphere

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • A large number of courses involving various aspects of astronomy are offered as a follow-up and discussed in the final week This can also be supported by reccomendations of Local Societies to attend

Download full Course information sheet

The Search for Comets as Celestial Intruders

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This course has been cancelled.


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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