New Astronomers Group

The New Astronomers' Group is an introductory course for new members that includes: 1) Amateur Astronomy 2) Science of Astronomy 3) History of Astronomy.

A novice observing program of the 36 brightest stars and their surrounds is included to help you get started observing night sky.

Section meetings are open for all ASV members so please come along and join us if you're interested. Meetings are held on the third Wednesday night of each month at the ASV Lodge from 07:30 to 10:30pm. See the ASV calendar for what's on at the next NAG meeting.


Section meetings have resumed using Zoom to login remotely

Zoom meeting details are sent out in the NAG Newsletter. So it's essential you join the Mailing list as follows

When I send out the next NAG meeting update your Inbox will receive a copy.


May meeting

Topic: Astronomically speaking, our solar system is our local neighbourhood. So it should come as no surprise the Planets are visible just a short walk from your back door. The outer planets are assembling in the Eastern sky heading to our evening skies. We will walk through where and when to look for 2020.
We will answer questions like do filters and Barlow lenses help?


A census of our solar system suggests how the planets might have formed. But then the discovery of Exoplanets threw a bowling ball as Astronomers found a scattering of unusual planets like Super Earths and Hot Jupiters that we don't see in our own Solar system.

Planet formation may be more complex than we thought?


NAG Web-site update

When I installed Windows 10 I lost all my prior build. The content of this web-site became abandoned for so long.
Now I’m starting over - Renovations have started - fresh content is coming - Login with download section is planned.


Zoom meeting restrictions

Zoom meetings restricts us to exploring the night sky using Stellarium. I will open the meetings start at 7:15pm for a pre-chat. Once the meeting starts proper please keep your microphone muted to limit unwanted background noise except for when you want to speak. We will stop for questions whenever possible.

I'm sorry the juggling tips are on hold until we can resume normal meetings at the ASV Lodge.


Other NAG pages: How to join : Meeting Calendar : FAQ
NAG Home Page: (sorry... this is out of date and login is broken)
Contact the Section Director: Ken  Le Marquand:


NAG meetings are now open to all ASV members

How has this been made possible? NAG has moved to a *zero cost model. So, except for those who have already paid for and finishing their 12months with NAG, there are no more NAG folders given out and printing of notes will cease at the end of 2018.

Content will be moving on-line for download using a last month, this month, next month format. With members already using their portable devices at the meeting and  anytime access this change to NAG meetings is a logical step to keep NAG relevant and accessible.

Who is NAG suitable for?

Parents please note: Members 16years and under will be better suited to the Junior section.

Content is aimed at adults of all ages. Over the years I've had many retired people who finally found time to pursue a long held interest in the night sky joining NAG. But we have had all ages, all personality types, from all backgrounds. NAG is the opposite of an "on-line" Astronomy course as volunteer helpers cannot compete against the resources of an education facility like a University. Instead the monthly NAG meetings are an opportunity to meet and connect with other members (much like yourself) starting out in Astronomy. Hands on & practical are keywords. Prior knowledge of Astronomy is not required. An interest to learn more is essential. With 1000+ members and almost 20 sections, the ASV can be a daunting place to find your way. I hope the New Astronomers' Group makes those first steps a little easier.


1) Amateur Astronomy

"Where do I start with observing the night sky" is an often-asked question. The New Astronomers' Group has a Novice observing program that starts with you learning the 36 brightest stars. Soon large chunks of the night sky will begin to look familiar as you start piecing the Constellation jigsaw together. Your backyard is certainly the most convenient and recommended place to start. While dark skies are ideal they are not necessary when starting out. Find a place away from the glare of your local streetlight. You may find a few observing spots to avoid obstructions like trees and chimneys. The Novice observing programme includes monthly tips like: using a planisphere, role of a red torch, binocular basics, reading horizon charts, etc... Over the course of the year you will witness the constellations change with the seasons. When the weather permits a night sky tour is conducted at the NAG meeting from the backyard. An ASV Loan telescope is available, or we can finish early and open up the observatory to look through the 20" club scope. Some members need assistance with using their first telescope. You are welcome to bring them along for advice and/or assistance (clear night is best).


2) The Science of Astronomy

My job as Section Director is to introduce you to the major areas of Astronomy (see meeting calendar). Astronomy is not only a hobby to Amateurs like members of the ASV. It is a Science with a network of professionals, educational institutions, research facilities that include world class ground telescopes, and space based astronomy. The New Astronomers' Group notes are only an introduction to the basics and essentials of the Astronomical subject at hand. Please pursue further information through ASV Sections, the ASV Library has a range of books, magazines, DVDs and reference material to borrow (for free). You will find recommendations in NAG monthly notes.


Your job is to discover where your astronomical interests lie. By the end of your 12 months with NAG you will hopefully have connected with one (or more) sections of the ASV, met some other ASV members, started observing wonders of our night sky, made it to a field trip or ASV Star Party.


Telling you there are Dwarf, Normal, and Giant stars is like telling you there are Small, Medium, and Large fish. Truth is there is so much more diversity in our oceans, a whole ecosystem in fact waits to be explored.


 3) The History of Astronomy

Astronomy is arguably the oldest Science. Much of the Astronomy news we see/hear is published under the banner of exciting new discoveries using the latest technology. Yes, there is truth in that, but it is also true the discoveries of today are based on hundreds, even thousands of years of historical discoveries. Only by standing on the shoulders of giants who came before us can our technology see so far ahead. For this reason, some history is woven into the text of the NAG course notes to add perspective and context to what we learn. The history of Astronomy contains some of the greatest Discovery stories ever told.



Ken Le Marquand
Section Director, New Astronomers' Group

Past President