Classes for Amateur Astronomers

Here it is! Our summer program "Learn the Sky Nights" is back! This year we are holding the classes on Monday evenings! Classes start on 24 July so be sure to register soon!!

In 2003, we had expanded our program to include a 'beginner course' and an 'advanced course.' We had hoped to offer it again, but, we didn't have enough registrants, so the advanced section is canceled for 2006. Instead, we will work with the speakers to set up special workshops during the coming year that will cover the same topics as the 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 everyone although it will be assumed that you have some familiarity with the topics covered in the beginner class.

For six Monday nights in July and August (2006), we will cover some of the basic (7:30-9:30pm) topics in amateur astronomy.

You may register for any combination of classes.

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!

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

  • Cost -- $10 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
7:30 - 9:30pm
advanced course
1 24 Jul 2006 alt az, planispheres, satellites and constellations
w/Jordan Hill
CCD, digital image processing
2 31 Jul 2006 RAdec, starcharts, starhopping, planetarium software comets and asteroids
Dr. Dennis Wellnitz, Stef McLaughlin, UMD Astronomy
3 7 Aug 2006 types of scopes, setting up scopes, telescope making
w/Guy Brandenburg
Dr. David Dunham, pres. IOTA
4 14 Aug 2006 types of objects, Messier and other lists radio observations
Dr. Leonard Garcia, Dr. Jim Thieman, Dr. Jim Gass, GSFC
5 21 Aug 2006 astrophotography and digital imaging cataclysmic variables
Mr. Steve Robinson
6 28 Aug 2006 - observing projects, Solar Observing
w/Greg Piepol

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.