Online Session Content & Topics

The content of our online sessions varies a lot but if you want an idea of what we're likely to cover, this page should help.

In most cases I begin with a short introduction about "Our Place in the Universe". This covers basic concepts such as Earth's position in the Solar System and wider Universe. This may only last a few minutes but can go a lot longer depending on questions. Often, the introduction leads to questions which guide the entire rest of the session. This suits me as I like to focus on whatever you and your participants want to talk about. However, if you prefer it to be more structured, I can limit questions and keep covering the things I think are important to know about.

I like to talk about days, nights and years on Earth and other planets. This works well with international meetings as we can look at a simulated view of Earth from space in real time. This shows where you and I are in terms of the day/night cycle—typically daytime for you while it's night on my side of the planet.

It's also nice to talk about what can be seen in the night sky, especially any interesting planets or other objects that are currently visible. Again, it's helpful to show the difference between what you and I can see, and how this is caused by our relative positions on Earth.

For some groups, especially scouts and guides, I like to explain how to find north/south/east/west using the stars.

I recommend that we spend at least some of the session talking about spaceflight, including robotic space probes and human exploration of space. The International Space Station is a favourite topic and I use photos and videos to demonstrate weightlessness and other issues for astronauts. I often do this later in the session as it is the easiest, most fun thing to talk about. If any students are starting to get a bit restless, this topic usually brings their focus and enthusiasm back.

Here are a few other common things that may come up:

Remember, we can talk about anything to do with space that you want to cover. Feel free to request specific topics, and don't be scared of asking "dumb questions". As always, contact me if you have any questions.