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Highlands Astronomical Society

Observing For Absolute Beginners - OISF 2020 Online

Added on 12 September 2020

The Orkney Night Sky For Beginners

“May Your Constellations Ever Glitter”  - (Howie Firth MBE to Eric Walker on 9th September 2020)


This is a series of short talks and a one hour-long interactive presentation given to the 2020 Orkney International Science Festival Online in September.

The aim of the talks is to show absolute beginners how to find their way around the night sky and pick out a few well known, and beautiful, objects to observe.

It is designed so that no telescope is needed – naked eye observing and a pair of standard binoculars is all that is required.

My virtual observatory for the Science Festival was located on the small island of North Ronaldsay and all the talks are relevant for anyone observing in the Northern Hemisphere.  If you live further south, all the objects will be higher in the sky.  If you live further east or west then objects will be visible earlier or later respectively.

Don’t be too concerned if you are viewing these talks a few weeks or months later – most of these objects are observable throughout the autumn and early winter.  They will be located in different positions and rise & set at different times from those given in the talks but the techniques shown will enable you to account for that.

For the short talks, I have a 5- to 7-minute slot and I was always the last person to be presenting, so, if you slide the viewing bar to about 8 or 9 minutes from the end you should be close to the start of the astronomy segment.

The short talks contain more detail than the single long talk, but the long talk has everything in one place and there’s no other topics to distract you.

Hope you enjoy them and that they encourage you to get out, look up, and start observing the beautiful night sky.


Clear Skies!


Eric Walker

Highlands Astronomical Society - Chair


The Orkney Night Sky For Beginners (55m07s)


Peedie Kirk Lunch – Selene’s Chariot (The Moon) (17m28s)


Peedie Kirk Lunch – The Triangle & The Plough (Constellations & Asterisms) (15m24s)


Peedie Kirk Lunch – A’m An Orcadian … Get Me Oot O’ Here (Navigation Stars) (14m00s)


Peedie Kirk Lunch – The Wanderers (Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, & Venus) (19m28s)


Peedie Kirk Lunch – The Ash Of Yggdrasill (The Milky Way) (16m22s)


Peedie Kirk Lunch – Clusters & Clouds (Seven Sisters, The Double Cluster, & The Andromeda Galaxy) (18m25s)






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