NOVA Astronomy Course

Image: M20, Trifid Nebula by by Ian Wheelband

NOVA (New Observers to Visual Astronomy) is the public introduction to astronomy course that is designed to show the novice astronomer the wonders of the night sky and how to enjoy them. NOVA is presented by volunteers from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), Toronto Centre.

NOVA is a six-week program. 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 Yorkville Library from October 24 to December 5, 2017, from 6:15-8:00pm (six Tuesdays excluding October 31 due to Halloween). Classes will be 1 hour and 45 minutes in length, with a 15-minute break in the middle.

Spaces will be filled on a first-come first-served basis, and will be open for registration starting Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 10:00am. (URL to be announced on this website when available).

NOVA will be six lessons, as follows: 

  • Week 1 (October 24): Introduction to RASC and Astronomy, overview of the course, astronomy history and "Canada in Space".
  • Week 2 (November 7): Sun, Earth, Moon, tides, eclipses, our Solar System, the Planets, meteor showers, and comets.
  • Week 3 (November 14): Stars, distances, magnitude, learning the night sky, constellations. planispheres, coordinate systems, astronomy (planetarium) software, with a brief demo of Stellarium.
  • Week 4 (November 21): 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 (November 28): Astronomy gear, binoculars, telescope types, selection and use, observing logs, equipment, observing sites, more drawing skills.
  • Week 6 (December 5): Cosmology, black holes, dark matter, universe formation, and an introduction to light pollution. 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 12 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.