Global Astronomy Month: April


The best views of the universe are from our own backyards 

A series of 3 minute podcasts on observing and appreciating our neighbourhood of the universe.

The first part gives a general understanding of what we can see with the eye and optical aids such as binoculars and telescopes:

  1. Our Solary System cosmic_perspective_part_1 
  2. Our Solar System’s place in our Galaxy cosmic_perspective_part_2
  3. Recognising our galaxy and its components cosmic_perspective_part_3
  4.  Looking beyond our galaxy cosmic_perspective_part_4

The second part highlights the importance of perspective in using optical tools -ie- in trying to understand our own home town we could rely on maps, aerial photos, radio/tv, restaurants, and talking to people. Only by combining such perspectives can we start to understand and appreciate our neighbourhood. Our cosmic neighbourhood requires a similar approach – wide-angles, close-ups and above all an understanding of what it is we are seeing. It has only been in the last few hundred years we found that we lived in a galaxy with local neighbours. It was never obvious to the senses:

  1. Cosmic perspective tools_for_cosmic_perspective_part_1
  2. Using faintness to see brightness tools_for_cosmic_perspective_part_2
  3. Using the Moon and planets for perspective tools_for_cosmic_perspective_part_3
  4. Astronomical literacy: of what practical importance? tools_for_cosmic_perspective_part_4

The third part deals with How to Find Things in Space. It covers use of maps and telescopes. Most importantly, it deals with the issue of ‘What does Space really look like?’. It’s all too common to see beginners disappointed with the images they see compared with animations and time-exposed space photos. This podcast explains why ‘the views you see are as good as they get’:

  1. How to find things in space  how_to_find_things_in_space_1
  2. What does Space really look like?  how_to_find_things_in_space_2
  3. How to soup up the Galileoscope how_to_find_things_in_space_3
  4. Recommendations for souping up telescopes how_to_find_things_in_space_4

 This podcast is supplemented by video demonstrations at


Free Music Downloads Creative Commons

radio tom

radio tom

Radio Tom offers Creative Commons podcasts and music. To access a continuous playlist of 70 tunes click here for the radio-tom playlist

It will then use Windows Media Player to stream the entire set.

For many songs chords used have been altered in line with the music system published in for 1-finger guitar playing.Video tutorials for the system can be found on

The music may be freely downloaded and used for any educational or entertainment purpose, commercial or otherwise.  Songs have been carefully screened to be from the public domain. Performances are mine, therefore free of any restrictions. Pre-recorded material used in the educational podcasts, however, has been done with attribution and I ask that this be respected in any re-use or translation of the material.