Outreach Presentations

The Society undertakes a range of outreach activities at various venues, such as U3A History, Science & Astronomy groups, Rotary clubs, Beaver/Cub/Scout & Rainbow/Brownie/Guide groups, and also local schools. We also utilise the observatory in Hesketh Park that we manage on behalf of Sefton MBC, and this includes public open days and observing sessions, weather permitting. We also hold regular meetings for society members and visitors (always welcome) given by either one of our members or a guest speaker, (see our Programme page). If you would like to hear one of our outreach talks listed below, just complete the form at the bottom of this page.

Rick’s Astro presentations (duration 45-60 min). All these talks can be adapted to meet the requirements of a wide range of audiences.


Finding your way around the night sky.

Binoculars, small telescopes, & what you can see.

Telescopes: What to buy.

Telescope Optics

Cooke telescope observing targets. (Telescope in Baxendell’s observatory)

Constellations: stars and easy deep-sky objects

Titan: The atmospheric moon.

Measuring the infinite: Cosmic distance ladders.

Cosmic dawn: Big bang to first stars & galaxies.

Planets, stars, and galaxies.

Our Sun.

New Moon: Revisiting what we thought we knew about the moon.

Solar System’s minor objects.

Dawn Mission to Vesta & Ceres and what we learnt.

New Horizons mission to Pluto, Charon & Arrokoth & what we learnt.

How do you make a Solar System like ours?

How do you make a Universe like ours?

Heavenly Visitors: Comets, Meteors & Showers

Relatively speaking: The History of General Relativity.

Gravity: A new eye on the universe.

Part 1 History of Quantum Theory: Is it here, there, or everywhere?

Part 2 Quantum weirdness: Do we live in a multiverse?

The search for reality: Democritus to quantum gravity.

Black holes: The inside story.

Local astronomers.

Liverpool Astronomers: Jeremiah Horrox & William Lassell.

Joseph Baxendell: Southport’s Astronomer

Isaac Roberts: A Welsh Astronomer

Life cycle of stars & their legacy

1) Stars: An overview

2) Magnitude, HR diagram, and the birth of stars.

3) Main Sequence life of stars.

4) Leaving the Main Sequence: Stars that “rage, rage, against the dying of the light”.

5) Stellar corpses: Degeneracy, White dwarfs, Neutron stars, and Black holes.

6) Elements: How and where they’re made and dispersed into the cosmos.

History of Cosmology

1) Greeks to Newton: The transition from a Geocentric to a Heliocentric universe.

2) Herschel to Hubble: The story of nebulae.

3) Something went bang in the night: Hubble to the big bang.

Life in the universe

Astrobiology – Conditions for life.

What does it take for anyone to be out there?

The search for extra-terrestrial water.

The planetary thermostat and life on earth.

Enceladus: A potential genesis for life?

Bob’s Astro presentations and lectures (duration 25 to 75 min). Some cover the AQA syllabus for GCSE and A-level Physics exams.

Astronomy – 60 min

  1. An Introduction to Astronomy
  2. Finding your way around the night sky
  3. The Solar System
  4. The Sun – An “Ordinary Star”?
  5. The Moon
  6. Finding Neptune
  7. Northern Constellations and their main stars
  8. Optical Telescopes
  9. None-optical Telescopes
  10. Jodrell Bank and the Square Kilometre Array

Topical – 60 min

  1. The detection of Binary Stars and Exoplanets
  2. Just a Second! – What is Time?
  3. Extra Terrestrial Life – “Is Anybody there?”
  4. The Properties of Light
  5. The Storey of Cassiopeia A

Astrophysics 45 to 60 mins

  1. An Introduction to Astrophysics – in 4 parts (45 min each)
  2. Supernova, Neutron Stars, Black Holes, Quasars, and Active Galactic Nuclei
  3. Analysing Stars – Stellar Luminosity, Magnitude and Colour
  4. Analysing Stars – The Laws of Radiation
  5. The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram
  6. The Doppler Effect and Red Shift

Cosmology 60 mins

  1. The Big Bang Model of the Universe
  2. The Size and Age of the Universe

Historical 60 to 75 mins

  1. The History of Astronomy
  2. Astronomy from ancient times to the Renaissance
  3. Astronomy from Newton to Gravitational Waves
  4. Astronomy in Southport – Hesketh Park & the Baxendell Observatory
  5. Women Astronomers
  6. Joseph von Fraunhofer
  7. Charles Messier and his Catalogue of Stellar objects
  8. The Caldwell Catalogue and the life of Sir Patrick Moore
  9. Sir Isaac Newton – His life, work and times
  10. Measuring Space – How it was done

Short talks and discussion groups – 25 to 40 mins

  1. Timeline of life on Earth – “How did we make it here?”
  2. How many Universes would fit inside the Milky Way?!
  3. Time and the Dawn of Astronomy
  4. Special Theory of Relativity and Proof of E=mc2
  5. General Theory of Relativity – Einstein’s Field Equations
  6. What is Gravity?!
  7. Binoculars for Astronomy – Choosing and using
  8. Telescopes for Amateurs – Choosing and using
  9. The Drake Equation
  10. Seeing Stars – The Limiting Magnitude for the Naked Eye

Edmund’s  Astro presentations (duration ~45-60 min)

Special Earth – the near uniqueness of Planet Earth, and why alien life is exceptionally rare.

American contributions to astronomy and space exploration

Gazing from the shoulders of giants.

The Herschel’s: Astronomy, a family business.

The Earth is flat & doesn’t move.


Ancient British Astronomy.

The electromagnetic spectrum

Eddie’s Astro presentations – these are not in PowerPoint, and are well suited to younger guide and scouting groups like Beavers, Cubs, Rainbows, and Brownies.

From Goddard to Apollo, early attempts at space exploration.

Introduction to astronomy.

Mike D’s Astro presentations

In the beginning (Stellar synthesis of elements & periodic table).

A potted history of time (Part 1).

A potted history of time (Part 2).

Search for the quark.

Little green men

John Fernley and the Hesketh Park Observatory.

If you would like to arrange a talk by one of our speakers, please complete the request form below.