Preston Montford Weekend Course 2018

30 November–2 December 2018

Preston Montford Field Centre, near Shrewsbury

The 2018 course is now over but here’s a photo of the participants. Click to enlarge.

Preston Montford attendeesSeeing Stars

Featuring talks by

Martin Lewis, deep-sky observer and expert reviewer
Prof Ian Morison: SPA Instrument Adviser
Robin Scagell: SPA President

This weekend course covers all aspects of deep-sky observing, including stars, nebulae, star clusters and external galaxies. We’ll cover both visual observing using typical amateur telescopes and imaging using both conventional and specialised cameras. Talks are aimed at beginners and those with some experience.  

Topics will include:
  • How to observe stars, nebulae and galaxies visually
  • Using DSLRs and CCD cameras to image the deep sky
  • Elementary astrophysics — the lives and deaths of stars
  • Filters and techniques for battling light pollution
  • The type of instruments needed and recording observations, plus image processing using Photoshop and other software.

The location

The society has been holding a weekend course at Preston Montford almost every year since 1977. The location is in the heart of the Shropshire countryside. Click here for more details of the venue and its location


We hope to observe on the Friday and Saturday nights if it’s clear. There will be telescopes available and participants are welcome to bring their own instruments. Help will be given on setting up and using telescopes if required. The last-quarter Moon rises well after midnight. Saturn is visible low down in the early evening, and Mars is a bright object in the south. Solar observing may be carried out after lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Numbers are limited to 40 participants. There is no age limit in either direction, but we do not provide special care for participants under 18.

Ideally participants should arrive by 6.30 pm on Friday 30 November, but if anyone expects to be later food will be kept for them. The course sessions begin at about 8.30 pm on Friday 30 November, and ends at 3.30 pm on Sunday 2 December, though people may leave earlier if necessary.

Cost and participation

See the terms and conditions below for details of costs and deposits. Participants under the age of 18 are welcome, though close supervision is not provided. Please let us know if you require a special diet or vegetarian food.

If you have any questions contact:

SPA Weekend Course, 36 Fairway, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5DU. E-mail Telephone  0115 937 3610 (9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday ONLY).

Course now fully booked