The Insider's Guide to the Galaxy

(Formerly Homebound Astronomy)

Join us online to learn basic astronomy that you can do on your own from your backyard!

We'll be hosting introductory astronomy courses every other Tuesday at 3:30pm EDT. They'll give you the tools to learn astronomy on your own at home, along with some observing goals to try. All you need is your computer! A pair of binoculars will help, but are not necessary.

Register here! Videos will also be livestreamed to The RASC YouTube Channel.


Tuesday, December 1st Chris Vaughan 

Orion Deep Dive

  • Orion is one of the most recognizable constellations in our night sky, and is a favourite of astronomers everywhere for all the treasures it holds. Join us for a deep dive into the constellation and everything in it! We'll also be previewing the winter planets and discussing the upcoming Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, where they will be so close to one another that you'll be able to see them in the same field of view of a telescope!


Date Host Topic
March 31st
Chris Vaughan

All About Stellarium!

  • Install and set up Stellarium, a free, open source planetarium software that runs on all platforms!
  • How to use basic tools in Stellarium to navigate and learn about the night sky.
  • Learn about the planets and constellations you can see tonight and early tomorrow morning!
  • After you're done, try out this Scavenger Hunt to give your new Stellarium skills a workout! We'll go over the answers on Thursday, April 2nd
  • Rewatch All About Stellarium here!
April 2nd
Chris Vaughan

Introductory Observing

  • Find out the answers to the Scavenger Hunt from March 31st!
  • A tour of the night sky including deep sky objects and objects you can see from your back porch.
  • Observing tips and tricks for beginners, including a special appearance by Venus on April 3rd! Chris will show you where to look and what to look for.
  • Rewatch Introductory Observing here!
April 7th
Chris Vaughan

2020's Last Supermoon

  • What is a Supermoon? Why is it interesting? Come find out all about the last Supermoon of 2020!
  • Ask an Astronomer! Have you ever had questions about space but no one to ask? Chris will answer those questions in an informal Q&A. 
  • Scavenger Hunt 2! Try your hand at finding even more objects using Stellarium! Answers will be revealed on Thursday, April 9th
  • Rewatch 2020's Last Supermoon here!
April 9th
Chris Vaughan

Demystifying the Stars

  • Find out the answers to the Scavenger Hunt from April 9th!
  • We will focus on common questions about stars, such as how far away they are, why they are different colours and temperatures, and how they are named.
  • We'll also go over the constellations and how to use them as a map around the night sky!
  • CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT! Take a photo of something up in space* and post on Instagram or Twitter for the chance to win a copy of the current issue of SkyNews, and Nightwatch, an amazing introductory astronomy book! Tag @astrogeoguy, @royalastronomicalsocietycanada (Instagram) / @rasc (Twitter), and use the hashtag #astronomytime to enter. Winner will be selected at random, so don't worry about your astrophotography skills! Contest closes Tuesday at 10am EDT, winner will be announced at 3:30pm EDT during the Astrophotography livestream.
  • * object must be at low Earth orbit or higher (e.g. the ISS, satellites, stars, the Moon, Venus)
  • Rewatch Demystifying the Stars here!
April 14th
Paul Owen

Introductory Astrophotography

April 16th
David Shuman

Introductory Photoshop

  • Learn how to edit a DSLR image of the sky! Practice images can be downloaded here.
  • Learn about deep-sky photography and how using filters can be a completely different experience.
  • Rewatch Introductory Photoshop here!

April 21st

Chris Vaughan

Galaxy Season

  • It's springtime, which means it's Galaxy season! What does that even mean?
  • Learn about different types of galaxies and why they look so different from one another.
  • We'll also go over the Lyrids Meteor Shower happening on Wednesday.
  • Rewatch Galaxy Season here!

April 23rd

Chris Vaughan

Messier and NGC Catalog

  • You may have heard about Messier objects before. There are 110 of them!
  • What is the story behind Messier and his objects? We're going to talk about the history of their discovery and what makes them special.
  • Rewatch Messier and NGC Catalog here!
April 28th
Chris Vaughan

Apps and Tools

  • We'll go over the best apps you can find to help you with astronomy, from planning sessions to gathering information to visualizing space.
  • Rewatch Apps and Tools here!
May 5th
Chris Vaughan, Blake Nancarrow

Double Stars and Easy City Targets

  • What are double stars? Why are they special? Join us this week to find out!
  • The full Moon is coming up, so we're going to go over a few easy to spot targets in light polluted skies. This is the perfect session for city-dwelling astronomers!
  • Rewatch Double Stars and Easy City Targets here!
May 12th
Chris Vaughan

Beginner Telescopes

  • We'll be talking all about reflectors and refractors and the benefits of both.
  • If you are considering buying a telescope, or have just purchased one and want to learn the ropes, this is the session for you!
  • Chris referenced a PDF in his talk about telescopes. View that PDF here.
  • Rewatch Beginner Telescopes here!

May 19th

Paul Owen

Intermediate Astrophotography Part 1

May 26th

Paul Owen

Intermediate Astrophotography Part 2

Tuesday, June 30th

Chris Vaughan

Science Fiction in the Stars

Tuesday, July 14th

Chris Vaughan

Touring the Summer Milky Way

  • The best objects of all types to see in the summer months, using unaided eyes, binoculars, and telescopes. We'll give you some tips on using nebula filters, and dive into some history about Scorpius and Sagittarius!
  • Rewatch Touring the Summer Milky Way here!

Tuesday, July 28th

Chris Vaughan

Constellation Deep Dive

  • We're diving into some more constellations this week! We'll go over Cygnus, Lyra and Aquila, the three constellations that contain the bright stars in the Summer Triangle, and some of the cool objects you can find in those constellations!
  • Rewatch Constellation Deep Dive here!

Tuesday, August 11th

Chris Vaughan

A Virtual Tour of the Southern Hemisphere

Tuesday, August 25th

Chris Vaughan

Summer/Fall Planet Viewing Preview

  • Summer 2020 evenings will feature Jupiter and Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and Mars, too! We'll preview how to view those planets, what features on them to look for, and some observing tips.
  • Rewatch Summer/Fall Planet Viewing Preview here!

Tuesday, September 8th

Chris Vaughan

Stargazing for Beginners and the Best Sights for Autumn

  • We'll help you get started in visual astronomy by explaining the basics - how to use a sky chart, how sky coordinates work (spoiler alert - it's easy), what's a variable star, how to tell a galaxy from globular cluster, and more. We'll leave time for questions, too. And - it’s the start of autumn soon, so we'll highlight some of its best targets for beginners. 
  • Rewatch Stargazing for Beginners here!
Tuesday, September 22nd

Chris Vaughan

How to Get the Most Out of Your Telescope

  • Struggling to set up your telescope? Can’t see Jupiter as clearly as you want to? We’ll set up our scopes to show you exactly what we do each time, give you some tips to make your telescope observing sessions even better, and recommend some gadgets and accessories.
  • Rewatch How to Get the Most Out of Your Telescope here!

Tuesday, October 6th

Chris Vaughan

Mars Fest 2020

  • Today’s the day! Mars is at its closest approach to Earth, making it the biggest and brightest it will be for another 15 years! We’ll explain why that is, give you tips for seeing Mars in your telescope, take a look at Mars' geology and the spacecraft and rovers that are exploring the Red Planet, and more! And we'll explain the difference between Mars’ closest approach today, and its official opposition on October 13th.
  • Rewatch Mars Fest 2020 here!

Tuesday, October 20th

Chris Vaughan

Out of This World Records!

  • What’s the biggest constellation out there, and the smallest? What's the farthest thing a human eye can see - or the hottest star - or the closest star cluster? How about the first exoplanet ever discovered? We’ll tell you all about the record-holders in our sky, and how to observe them! 
  • Rewatch Out of This World Records here!

Tuesday, November 17th

Chris Vaughan, Bryon Czarnik

All About Meteor Showers and Meteorites

  • When better to talk about meteors and meteorites than on the peak of a meteor shower? Tonight is the peak of the Leonids Shower, and we'll be talking about what makes some meteor showers better than others. We'll be joined by expert guest Bryon Czarnik who will talk to us about how to find, identify, and even buy meteorites. We'll have lots of time to answer questions and will go over some astronomy highlights coming up in the next two weeks, too!
  • Rewatch All About Meteor Showers and Meteorites here!



Insider's Guide Playlist
Last modified: 
Thursday, November 26, 2020 - 10:51am