2017 Adult Astronomy Courses

Make 2017 an astronomical year with a short astronomy course held at Sydney Observatory taught by Dr. Paul Payne. These courses are suitable for adults and senior students (years 11 and 12).

Exploring the Heavens (courses available in May and August 2017)

This highly engaging introduction to astronomy provides a memorable understanding of the planets, stars and constellations of our night sky.

Popular astronomy educator Dr Paul Payne uses 3D virtual reality media to provide a history of astronomy and an exploration of different types of telescopes – some of which you’ll use to explore the night sky (weather permitting). Paul brings astronomy alive and contextualises the cosmos in a way that isn’t possible with a textbook or Powerpoint presentation.


Hands-On Night Sky (courses available in May 2017)

How do you identify planets, stars and constellations? In this practical course you will learn how to find your way around the night sky. Choosing and using your own telescope will also be discussed and Sydney Observatory’s telescopes and other resources will be used to reveal the basics of astronomy. No prior knowledge is required for this course.


Understanding Relativity (courses available in June and July 2017)

Understanding Relativity is a 5-week course that introduces the fundamental concepts of relativity, without the aid of mathematics. Dr Paul Payne uses computer graphics to develop a strong understanding of how time and space affect the physical Universe. Together you’ll look at Einstein’s development of the special and general Theories of Relativity — the century-old theories at the foundation of modern physics — to comprehend the cosmos.


Understanding Quantum (courses available in July 2017)

Quantum is the theory we had to have. During the 19th Century many advances were made in Physics but by the end of the century it was backing itself into a corner. It would take a radical change in thinking to explain many of the paradoxes that had arisen and Quantum was the uneasy solution. Its ability to explain the previously unexplainable was startling and menacing. Nature was to expose many aspects of itself in the early 20th Century that would sit uneasily with intuitive thinking. Though many thought Quantum a temporary explanation for what was observed, it has withstood a century of challengers.

Understanding Quantum will introduce you to why we had to have this new theory to explain the very small and its development through the twentieth century. Over the duration of the course you will be taken from its infancy to some of its more radical predictions, with an emphasis on its application in astronomy. All the presentations are in interactive 3D to aid communicating concepts that are often very difficult to visualise and understand. No mathematics shall be used during the explanations. We invite you to make the leap into Quantum.


Please be advised that from February 2017, Sydney Observatory’s paths and gardens will be undergoing some renovations to improve access to Sydney’s oldest observatory. During these works the Observatory will remain open day and night and Adult Astronomy courses will operate as normal. There may be a small impact on our other programs, events and tours but we aim to complete this project as quickly as possible and thank you for your understanding. Please contact us on sydneyobservatory@maas.museum or (02) 9217 0111 if you would like more information.