Current List of Astronomy Talks

Below is a list of talks I’ve previously given with a brief description of what is covered. However, I have also done a lot of custom designed talks in schools and to cubs and scouts groups, to children aged between 2 years and 18 years old, to fit in with a particular part of the curriculum.  So if you don’t see something here to cover what you need, please contact me and we can discuss your requirements.

"Photographing The Night Sky: A Beginner's Guide to Astrophotography" covers all the basics of getting started with astrophotography, with and without a telescope. I usually do this as a 2 hour workshop but have an abridged version which I have got down to just over an hour.

"Improve Your Astrophotography" covers how to get started with stacking with walk through on how to use Autostakkert! 2, Registax 6 and Deep Sky Stacker plus some basic Photoshop Processing. Again started out as a 2 hour workshop but also have a 1 hour version.

"Creating Stunning Star Trails" is a really popular talk. I cover how to shoot a star trails sequence, stack the images in StarStaX,  basic processing and how to create a timelapse video of your startrails. I've given this talk at various camera clubs, at the Wex Photographic Astronomy Show and BAA Horncastle Astronomy weekend 2016. It is always very well received.

"Photographing the Milky Way from the UK” - imaging the Milky Way from the UK can be tricky, but definitely worth the effort! in this talk I cover all aspects of trying to get the best Milky Way shots from the UK using basic camera equipment. Most of my Milky Way photography has been done from Oxfordshire where there is considerable light pollution so I also cover the image processing techniques that have worked for me. Part of this talk covers material which was featured in an article that I wrote for the October 2018 issue of Sky at Night magazine. Even if you aren’t interested in astronomy in general, the Milky Way can provide a dramatic backdrop to any nightscape photograph so this talk is suitable for camera clubs as well as astronomy clubs and societies.

"Astronomy: Past & Present” - in this 1 hour talk, I cover the full history of astronomy, from prehistoric cave paintings to robotic telescopes. It includes stories about important people who were pivotal with their contribution to astronomy alongside the changes in theory and science behind the subject.

"Reflection, Refraction & Excitation: The Hunt For Asmospheric Optial Effects" is a 1 hour talk all about haloes, arcs, sundogs,  etc and how they form. I also go through noctilucent clouds and aurora in this talk. I gave this one as the William Fox Memorial Lecture at the BAA Horncastle weekend in 2016 and it was well received. 

"Shadows in Space and the Stories They Tell"- from shadows on Earth to shadows on the surface of the Moon we can learn a lot. But it doesn’t stop there; cameras on probes in orbit around other planets and their moons have taught us a lot just by studying the shadows visible there. I gave this talk as the William Fox Memorial Lecture at the BAA Horncastle weekend in 2018 and it was well received.

“My Favourite Astronomy Photographs” – was originally a 30 minute talk presented at Space Camp in Aylesbury in 2017. I show people some of the highlights of my own astrophotography and explain how I took the photos and what makes them my favourites. This can be extended to cover an hour.

“Astronomy Sketching Workshop” - I did 2 astronomy sketching workshops at the SolarSphere Festival 2017 and 2018 plus have done this workshop in a local high schoo. I cover how to sketch the Moon and Sun on white paper with pencils and also using pastels on black paper. I take people through step by step how to create sketches from photographs and these skills can then be used to sketch at the telescope. You will need to provide the necessary art materials if you’d like me to do this for a large group.

Our Great USA Solar Eclipse Adventure” - this talk takes you on a journey to the USA where we had honeymoon viewing the solar eclipse. How did we plan the trip? How did we plan the photography? What did it feel like? This talk is full of images and videos from the eclipse trip.

I have done a series of 30 minute talks aimed at non-astronomy people, which can be adapted to be an hour long and cover more detail for astronomy clubs. These titles include:

“Whistle Stop Tour of the Solar System”

“Constellations: From Mythology to Modern Day”

“A Brief History of Astronomy”

“What Has The Space Programme Ever Done For Us?”

If you are within travelling distance of Banbury and want to learn how to get started in astrophotography, or if you have made a start but want to improve your skills and learn how to stack images, then come along to one of my courses at Astrophotography Courses. The courses take place at Tooley’s Boatyard which is located just below Castle Quay shopping centre in Banbury. There is ample car parking in the shopping centre and the bus and train stations are nearby. This season I am running the beginner’s astrophotography session twice and the improvers course once. See the poster below for further details of mine and other guest speakers courses at Astrophotography Courses. For more information and to book, please visit the Astrophotography Courses website:

Comments from people who have attended my talks:

Excellent! Learned a lot from it. Nicely structured and great details with a personal touch” (Wex Photographic attendee)

I was very inspired by your talk on star trail photography last Thursday at Wallingford Photo Club; I just had to have a go

“Thank you for your most interesting, informative and instructive presentation to us last night.  I am sure that you could see from our enthusiasm that we will be making our own individual attempts at producing star trails when the conditions are right” Wallingford Camera Club

Just a quick note to say thanks very much for your presentation to us. It went down very well indeed and a couple of people have said ‘best this year!’ “ Deddington, Adderbury and District Camera Club

“I have been attending U3A meetings for over 25 years and this was the best talk I’ve ever seen!” from a member of U3A, Woodstock

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