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Image: M20, Trifid Nebula by by Ian Wheelband

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Toronto Centre runs a program for adults and teenagers who are interested in astronomy. The NOVA (New Observers to Visual Astronomy) program is a free 6-week introductory course that is designed to show the novice astronomer the wonders of the night sky and how to enjoy them. No experience or telescope required.

We are excited to offer a lineup of expert presenters who will introduce you to visual observing, the solar system, stars, deep sky objects, black holes, telescopes, cosmology, and SO much more!

The next NOVA course will be held at the Pickering Central Public Library from October 2 to November 6, from 7:00 pm to 8:50 pm (six consecutive Wednesdays).

Spaces will be filled on a first-come first-served basis, and will be open for registration starting Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 10:00am.

CLICK HERE to go to the registration page.

Location: The Auditorium of the Pickering Central Public Library, 1 The Esplanade South, Pickering, ON

Details: Free parking and fully accessible location


NOVA will be six lessons, as follows: 

Week 1 (October 2): Introduction to RASC and Astronomy; overview of the course; astronomy history; "Canada in Space"; how stars move nightly, monthly; how to use Star Finders

Week 2 (October 9): Solar System: How to find and observe the Sun, Moon, planets, comets

Week 3 (October 16): Astronomy gear, binoculars, telescope types, selection and use, observing logs, equipment, observing sites, drawing skills.

Week 4 (October 23): Milky Way, deep sky objects, nebulae, star clusters, galaxy formation and types of galaxies. How to observe galaxies and galaxy clusters. Astro-sketching. Introduction to Messier and RASC observing programs.

Week 5 (October 30): Stars, distances, magnitude, learning the night sky, constellations,  coordinate systems, astronomy (planetarium) software, with a brief demo of Stellarium.

Week 6 (November 6): Cosmology, black holes, dark matter, universe formation, and an introduction to light pollution and urban astronomy. Course wrap up.

During the course participants will be encouraged to pursue the RASC's Explore the Universe Observing Certificate to gain practical experience in locating and observing astronomical objects.

Class size is limited to approximately 50 participants. Recommended minimum age for participants is 13 years old. Children under 13 years old must be accompanied by an adult during each session.

We look forward to introducing and welcoming you to the wonderful world of astronomy and visual observing!

You can sign up to receive email updates about future NOVA courses.