Free Astronomy Workshops

Series of 6 Free Astronomy Workshops for 2017

~hosted by Paul Owen and the Saint John Astronomy Club

Free Astronomy Workshops

The Saint John Astronomy Club has started a series of free astronomy workshops for both beginners and seasoned stargazers alike.
The first two in the series  of interactive workshops were held at The Old St George Restaurant in west Saint John and were well attended.
The 3rd, 4th, and 5th Workshops were at the Rockwood Park Interpretation Centre. Location of the 6th in June to be announced.

Overall Concept~

Members of the Saint John Astronomy Club and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) – New Brunswick Centre will be on hand to show you what to look for in your first, or next, telescope, or to help you get the most out of the telescope you have. If you have a telescope, bring it along, and make sure you dress warmly, as, weather permitting, the workshop will include a hands-on observing session. Future sessions will include the basics of astro-photography, observing with binoculars, time lapse photography, adjusting and maintaining your equipment, and more!


1st Session~ Telescope Basics   January 2017

Photograph of the first workshop hosted by the Saint John Astronomy Club was well attended.

Photograph of various telescopes set up at the first free astronomy workshop.

Photograph of Paul Owen pointing out different types of telescopes at workshop.

Photograph of Paul Owen showing different types of equipment at astronomy workshop.


2nd Session~  Navigating the Night Sky & Imaging the Moon

Photograph speaking at the second free astronomy workshop.Like the 1st Workshop, the 2nd one in February was well attended. Paul gave an in-depth view on photographing the Moon with a variety of devices, including using iPhone adapters on a telescope. Chris Curwin also gave hints and an overall view using the free astronomy app Stellarium in night sky navigating.
Photograph of Chris Curwin of Astronomy by the Bay showing how to use Stellarium.

Photograph of Paul Owen showing how to use a camera adapter on a telescope.


3rd Session~Observing the Solar System~ March, 2017

The Saint John Astronomy Club held its 3rd in the series of free interactive workshops at The Rockwood Park Interpretation Centre in St. John on March 8. Next one will be Wednesday, April 12.

Paul Owen giving a talk on observing the solar system.Paul Owen gave a presentation on Observing The Solar System and our position in the Milky Way Galaxy. He talked about the various sizes of the Planets, Comets, the Astroid Belt, and what to look for.
Paul Owen giving a talk on observing the solar system at the 3rd SJAC workshop.
As usual, everyone always enjoys the prizes the prizes too.Paul Owen giving away prizes at the 3rd SJAC workshop.

Chris Curwin from Astronomy by the Bay giving a talk on various free software programs to help in observing the planets.
Chris Curwin from Astronomy by the Bay gave a talk on using various free software programs to help in observing the planets. He talked about using Stellarium, Time and Date, and Heavens Above for help in navigating the night sky.
An outdoor observing session after the 3rd free astronomy workshop hosted by the SJAC and Paul Owen.
The skies cleared after a day of rain, drizzle and fog and we managed to work in some observing time after the workshop.
Observing with telescopes after a free astronomy workshop hosted by the SJAC.


4th Session~Astrophotography: Part II~ April 12, 2017

The 4th in the series of Free Astronomy Workshops was Wednesday, April 12 at the Interpretation Centre, Rockwood Park.
A photo of star trails taken by Paul Owen
For this Workshop the Theme was Astrophotography: Part II –Using your DSLR, Nikon and Cannon free software, shooting Star Trails, the Milky Way, advantages of a modified DSLR, etc. [photo above taken by Paul Owen].

Paul Owen discussing which lens to use at the 4th Free Astronomy Workshop

Paul Owen discussing which settings to use for photographing Constellations at the 4th Free Astronomy Workshop

Paul Owen discussing which settings to use for photographing Twilight at the 4th Free Astronomy Workshop

Paul Owen discussing which settings to use for photographing Startrails at the 4th Free Astronomy Workshop

Paul Owen discussing which settings to use for photographing the Aurorae at the 4th Free Astronomy Workshop

Paul Owen discussing our position in the Milky Way at the 4th Free Astronomy Workshop Also included was Star Parties, what they are, when they are. Weather did not permit Observing after.


5th Session~Using Binoculars & Selecting Mounts

The 5th in the series of Free Astronomy Workshops was Wednesday, May 10th at the Interpretation Centre, Rockwood Park.

1st Half: Using Binoculars~

Paul Owen gave a comprehensive view of using Binoculars for night sky astronomy observing–how to use them, get the most out of them, and what to look for in buying.
Paul Owen explaining the tradeoffs of using different size binoculars for viewing different objects in the night sky.

Paul Owen explaining how binoculars are perfect for viewing wide star clusters.

Paul Owen explaining the exit pupil size in binoculars.

Paul Owen explaining how to mount binoculars for steady viewing.

A list of some of the best links to get the most out of binocular night sky viewing.

The links shown above are listed here for your convenience~
RASC Observer’s Handbook, Wide Field Wonders (in back of book)
RASC Calgary Centre, Binocular Observing Certificate
Astronomical League, Deep Sky Program (for binoculars)
Binocular Sky Website
Sky & Telescope, Binocular Stargazing Catalog
Light and Matter, BinoSky

2nd Half: Selecting Mounts~

In the second part of the Workshop, Paul showed how he sets up an EQ (equatorial) mount, start to finish, for night sky viewing. He also demonstrated how you can use a wifi connection and free software for controlling the scope and giving you more information about objects in the night sky.

Paul Owen demonstrating how to set up an equatorial telescope.

Paul Owen looking through the polar alignment scope on an equatorial mount.

Paul Owen mounting a refractor scope on an equatorial mount.

Paul Owen demonstrating using a wifi connection on a telescope mount to control the scope and give you more information about the object you are looking at.

Matt West explaining his refactor scope mounted on an a-z mount.
Above–Matt West shows his scope mounted on an  Alt-Azimuth (A-Z) mount, and how he uses it. Also shown was a Dobsonian Mount [no photo].

Below is a short video about Workshop #5~


Free Astronomy Workshop wraps up June 14, 2017~
Wrap-up Session, Prepping for Summer, Q&A

Free Astronomy Workshop # 6

Paul Owen with a picture of John Dobson

Paul Owen showing a small refactor telescope at the Free Astronomy Workshop # 6

Paul Owen going over Moon photography at the Free Astronomy Workshop # 6

Paul Owen at the Free Astronomy Workshop # 6

Paul Owen giving some pointer about a SCT Telescope at the Free Astronomy Workshop # 6

Photo of Paul Owen, host of the Free Astronomy Workshop series.

The Free Astronomy Workshop Series has ended for 2017. The Rockwood Park Interpretation Centre was the setting for the 6th and final in the series on June 14th. We will be posting a summary of the Workshops when it is available.

These free workshops covered information that you may not easily find anywhere else. The response from the public was gratifying.

These Free Workshops were hosted by Paul Owen and the SJAC. You can still ask questions about anything you are curious about or need clarification. Contact the host, Paul Owen.

The Saint John Astronomy Club meets @ 7pm the 1st Saturday of every month (long weekends excepted) at the Rockwood Park Interpretation Centre. As with the workshops, all are welcome, no experience necessary.

 

 

 

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