Observing the Night Sky and Recent Developments in Astronomy

Education Courses

Key Details

Education Courses


Join Fred Stevenson to discover the mysteries of the night sky and explore recent developments in the field of astronomy.

Essential Information

Course tutor: Fred Stevenson

Course length: 5 weekly sessions, Wednesday evenings, 7.00 pm - 8.30 pm

Course structure: This is an online course held via Zoom. Please ensure you have the right system requirements for accessing Zoom before booking, as we have a no-refunds policy.

Course cost: £50 NHSN Members / £60 Non-Members

About this course

In this 5-week series of talks, we will be considering a variety of topics of current interest in astronomy.

We will begin by having a look at what is currently visible in the night sky – from The Moon to Planets to Stars and on to more distant objects. We will emphasise how just a humble pair of binoculars is all that is required to observe most of these objects.

We will then go on to give an update on the various space missions currently exploring the solar system - including the Mars rovers Curiosity and Perseverance, the Juno mission at Jupiter and its moons, as well as the missions to several asteroids.

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to travel to the southern hemisphere to observe a total eclipse of the Sun - this was a very successful trip and it gives me a good reason to discuss eclipses of the Sun and Moon and how you can arrange a trip to see one yourselves.

In the previous series of talks, I showed some of the exciting new images from the long-awaited James Webb Space Telescope and mentioned that this should be just ‘the tip of the iceberg’ - indeed it was! It has become difficult to keep up with the flood of new data and images since then. I will endeavor to give a summary of the latest results and discoveries and how they fit into our current understanding of the wider universe.

Course attendees will receive a Zoom link ahead of the first session. If you are new to Zoom, you can find more information about using it on their website here.


Beginner-friendly. No previous experience or knowledge of astronomy is necessary.

About the tutor

Fred obtained a degree in Physics with Astrophysics from the University of Leicester in 1980 followed by a PhD in Cosmology from Durham University in 1986. He has spent the past twenty- five years teaching adult education classes in astronomy, physics, and mathematics at a variety of venues throughout Northumberland, County Durham,and North Yorkshire.

Since 2014 he has presented short courses for the Natural History Society of Northumbria as well as the James Cowen Centre for Lifelong Learning (now Explore) in Newcastle.

Please read the terms and conditions for NHSN education courses before booking.