Table of contents
1. Astronomy and Observing
What is “Astronomy”?, Some definitions of astronomy, Why bother doing astronomy?, Who uses astronomy?, What is “Science”?, A definition of science, A gentle introduction to philosophy, Contemporary philosophy, Epistemology: the nature of knowledge, Metaphysics: the nature of reality, Science and extraordinary claims, The development of science, The nature of science and philosophy, Who uses science?, Some big questions in astronomy
1.2. The Universe as seen from Earth
Earth as our observing platform, What can be seen from Earth?
1.3. Astronomical hardware
Optics, The human eye, How does a telescope work?, Accessories, How to use a telescope & binoculars, Observing aids, How to choose a telescope & binoculars, Binoculars, Choosing a telescope, Where to buy telescopes and binoculars, Astrophotography basics.
1.4. Making observations
What kinds of observations can be made?, What types of objects can be observed?, Selecting an observing site, Making observations, Recording and sharing observations
2. Outreach and Sky Guiding
Development of science communication, Who communicates science?, Why do science communication?, Modes of science communication, The audience, The message to be communicated, Evaluation and feedback, How to grow as an outreach practitioner, Communication in the always-online era
2.2. Astronomy outreach in practice
Your outreach organization, Types of astronomy outreach events, Planning an event, Advertizing the event, Materials, Things to consider, Working with an audience, After the event
3. Astronomy in South Africa
Development of astronomical thinking
The earliest stargazers
Measuring the sky
Scientific astronomy in South Africa
Astronomy as a career
Light pollution in South Africa
This workshop will help you become:
- a better observer,
- a more engaging sky guide,
- a more skilled communicator, and
- a more informed South African.
As an observer, you will be able to:
- find objects of interest in the sky,
- plan an observing session,
- use a telescope and accessories,
- make observations, and
- record & submit observations.
As a sky guide, you will be:
- familiar with the basic constellations and bright stars,
- familiar with the Sun, Moon, and other sky objects
- familiar with atmospheric phenomena,
- able to determine when and where to see these, and
- choose the best way to point these out to the public.
As a communicator, you will learn best practices for:
- planning an outreach event,
- giving a public lecture,
- running an activity, and
- conducting naked-eye & telescope viewing.
As a more informed citizen, you will
- be more familiar with science and astronomy,
- be more knowledgeable about the development of astronomy in South Africa, and
- be more aware of South Africa’s astronomical heritage.