Our Amazing Galaxy and the Universe Beyond

Ref: C3742858

The visual impression of the night sky and accompanying maps can give a quite simplified view of the main bright stars forming a constellation. However closer iinspection shows many other types of objects, usually called 'deep sky' containing double stars, star clusters and gas clouds from which stars are being made. This course aims to locate the huge variety of objects and how these are observed by astronomers in our quest for wider knowledge.

Course aim

To tour the Milky Way Galaxy and study a variety of stars, deep sky objects, newly-discovered exo-planets and to find out if nebulae are in some cases other star systems beyond our own.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • All that is needed is a strong interest in understanding the sky and enthusiasm for the subject.

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

  • Locate and identify at least five major constellations.
  • Select a star cluster and describe in detail for findings from a personal study programme.
  • To investigate the history of nebulae found by great observers of the past and in modern times.

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
  • In the first week we can discuss if it may be possible some time during the course to arrange a visit to a nearby observatory to gain practical knowledge of observing equipment and techniques.

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

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (mobile phone, tablets or computer at home or through a library etc.). Also suggest purchase of a Philips Planisphere for 51deg north to reflect our view of the sky.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Not essential but 'Astronomy' by Ian Ridpath (DK Eyewitness series) is a useful pre course read.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progression issued at the end of the course to extend knowledge boundaries further. Consider joning a local astronomical society for which details are available on request.

Download full course information sheet

Our Amazing Galaxy and the Universe Beyond

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This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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