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. Any ASV memberthat's interested is welcome to join our meetings which are held on the third Wednesday night of each month.


Meetings will be conducted via the Zoom platform until further notice

Members can find details for all ASV Zoom meetings at:
To get the NAG Zoom meeting invite delivered to your Inbox subscribe to the NAG Newsletter as follows

When I send out the next NAG Newsletter (with course notes) your Inbox will receive a copy.


July meeting - Wed 15th July, 7:30 to 10pm

Topic: Galaxies are the largest visible building blocks of our Universe.

It is difficult with the naked eye to see anything that is not in our Milky Way Galaxy. Every individual star one can see is in our Galaxy. With a large telescope under a dark sky you can find Galaxies everywhere. But Astronomers did not always have telescopes. Humanity didn't always know the limits of our Galaxy, nor the existence of other galaxies. This knowledge came only in the 20th century. How did we come to know this?


Zoom meeting limitations

Zoom meetings restricts us to exploring the night sky using Stellarium. I will open the meetings start at 7:15pm so we can chat amongst ourselves. Once the meeting starts proper please mute your microphone muted to limit unwanted background noise. You are welcome to unmute to ask questions at anytime.

I'm sorry but 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 this is out of date and login is broken)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. The down side being there are no more NAG course folders handed out and printing of course notes ceased at the end of 2018. Content will be moving on-line using a last month, this month, next month format. With members already using their portable devices this change to NAG meetings is a logical step to keeping NAG relevant and accessible.

Who is NAG suitable for?

Parents please note: Content is aimed at adults of all ages. Members 16years and under will be better suited to the Junior section.

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 members of all ages and personality types are welcome. NAG is the opposite of an "on-line" Astronomy course offered by an education facility like a University. We can't compete with such resource rich offerings. Instead the New Astronomers' Group is 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 to help you learn the 36 brightest stars. Large chunks of the night sky will begin to look familiar as you start piecing the Constellation jigsaw together. While dark skies are ideal they are not necessary when starting out. Your backyard is certainly the most convenient and recommended place to start. 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 and red torch, binocular basics, reading horizon charts, etc... Over the course of the year we hope to show you how 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 to us, 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 yours along for advice and/or assistance (a 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 orselves, it is also 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 is an introduction to the basics and essentials of the Astronomical subject at hand. I encourage all to pursue further information through other ASV Sections, the ASV Library for books, magazines, and other reference material members can 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 in our Oceans. The truth is there is so much more diversity out there in an ecosystem waiting to be explored further.


 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 does our technology see a little further ahead at each step. For this reason history is woven into the text of the NAG course notes to add perspective and context to what we are learning. The history of Astronomy contains some of the greatest discovery stories ever told.



Ken  Le Marquand
Section Director, New Astronomers' Group

Past President