From watching a partial solar eclipse at primary school through to the Moon landings and beyond, space holds an endless fascination for me. As a teenager, most of my friends had pop star posters on their walls whereas I had one of the solar system. I am fortunate to live within easy reach of the Norman Lockyer Observatory in Devon. The observatory was founded in 1912 by Norman Lockyer when he retired to Sidmouth.
Every Friday during termtime (2015-2019) I ran a small young observers’ group from 19:30-20:30 during which we learned about constellations, planets, the Sun, our moon, the historic telescopes though most important is the naked eye observing, which is taught whenever possible. I aimed for everyone in the group to be able to find their way around the sky, to have at least a basic understanding of astronomy and to come away with a lifelong enthusiasm for the night sky.
If you’re interested in Astronomy feel free to stop by the observatory and say hello to any of the members, otherwise below is a list of resources which I have found useful.
A Stroll through the Stars: a gentle guide to observable astronomy designed to whet your appetite for enjoying the darker skies. The book is a refined compilation of the talks and presentations I have given over the years. It is available for £10 plus pp via the contact form or my Facebook page.
Turn Left at Orion: a good book, spiral bound, which has maps of all the night sky scenarios throughout the year from different angles. Easy to use with real images of what you are looking for.
2022 Guide to the Night Sky: once you are familiar with some favourites, this book will tell you where and when to see them.
NASA Scientific Visualisation Studio: masses of videos to illustrate the complexities of orbit and rotation. https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4769
Norman Lockyer Observatory: a wonderful place with working, historic telescopes, talks and an historic Planetarium