Classes for Amateur Astronomers

Here it is! Our summer program "Learn the Sky Nights" is back! This year we are holding the classes on Wednesday evenings AND we've expanded the program into a Beginner's and Advanced series! Classes start on 18 June so be sure to register soon!!

This year we will have two courses. A 'beginner course' and an 'advanced course.'
  • Have you ever wondered about what that bright star is near the moon? Or how do amateur astronomers know where to look in the sky? Have you ever gone to some of the astronomy websites and wondered what the heck they were talking about?

    Then the 'beginner course' is for you!

  • Are you tired of observing the Messiers? Have you done some astrophotography but want to take it to the next level? Are you tired of just observing and want your observing to have some purpose?

    Then the 'advanced course' is for you! This class is open to graduates of last year's Learn the Sky program and individuals who can demonstrate that they have already mastered the topics covered in the beginner class.

For six Wednesday nights in June and July (2003), we will cover some of the basic (6:30pm - 8:15pm) and advanced (8:30pm - 10:30pm) topics in amateur astronomy.

We anticipate this being a popular program, so be sure to download the registration form and email it or fax (301-405-3538) it back to Elizabeth! Preference will be given to those who attend all five evenings. Families are welcome... students under 17 must be accompanied by a responsible adult (other than me!)!

The classes will be a mixture of lecture, activities, and hands-on lessons. When the weather permits, we will use the observatory telescopes. In addition, there will be some 'homework' each week!


  • Registration -- download the registration form and email it or fax (301-405-3538) it back to Elizabeth.
    -- .pdf
    -- .doc
    -- .html

    [NOTE: I will be on vacation from 6-16 June! You may still send in your registration form by fax or email, but I may not be able to send a confirmation until 17 JUNE!]

  • Cost -- $5 per person per class; payment can be made at the first class you attend.

  • Course Credit -- None, this is strictly a fun course for amateurs and other interested individuals who want to learn more about astronomy.

  • Class cancellations -- classes will only be canceled in case of extreme weather. A message announcing any class cancellations will be posted on the UMD Observatory homepage and on Elizabeth's phone (301-405-6555).


week date beginner course
6:30 - 8:15pm
advanced course
8:30 - 10:30pm
1 18 June 2003 alt az, planispheres, satellites and constellations CCD basics, digital image processing, webcam
[Elizabeth Warner]
2 25 June 2003 RAdec, starcharts, starhopping, planetarium software spectroscopy, radio
3 2 July 2003 types of objects, Messier and other lists occultations
[Dr. David Dunham, pres. IOTA]
4 9 July 2003 types of scopes, setting up scopes Observing techniques for comets and asteroids
[Dr. Dennis Wellnitz, Stef McLaughlin, UMD Astronomy]
5 16 July 2003 astrophotography and digital imaging video observing
[Mr. Bob Stewart, NOVAC]
6 23 July 2003 observing projects, resources binaries, cataclysmic variables, supernovae, GRBs
[Mr. Steve Robinson, ]

Elizabeth Warner, the UMD Observatory coordinator, will be teaching most of the classes (outside experts will help teach some of the advanced classes). If you have any questions, please email her or call her at 301-405-6555.