Astronomy at Home with Bill Burnyeat

Astronomer Bill Burnyeat discusses where to aim your binoculars or telescope in episodes focusing on stars, constellations, the moon, the planets and space technology. Librarian Chris Miller acts as interviewer / host.

Episode 1: Stars in the Night Sky

  • Bill’s background: initial interest, move from journalism to astronomy
  • Skywatching during the pandemic
    • Stars: Castor and Pollux, Altair, Vega, Antares
    • Planets: Jupiter and Saturn close together in late spring
Episode 2: The Moon

  • Best times to observe during lunar cycle
    • Half moon: look along the Terminator
  • Features: craters and mare
  • Moons around other planets, including Jupiter
Episode 3: Constellations

  • Summer Triangle constellations: Vega, Deneb, Altair, with Milky Way in-between
  • Find star Arcturus in Boötes by locating handle of Big Dipper
  • Small constellations: story of Arion and Delphinus (The Dolphin)
  • Claudius Ptolemy
  • Constellations in the southern hemisphere
  • Objects inside constellations
Episode 4: Planets
  • Make your own Planisphere (credit to Dominic Ford of
  • Five planets to focus on from your backyard
  • Chemical composition of the planets
  • Saturn
  • Jupiter
Episode 5: Space Technology
  • Finding the approximate landing spot for the Apollo 11 moon landing
  • Locating the International Space Station with Heavens Above web site
  • SpaceX now delivering astronauts to ISS
    • Commercial rocket service to Moon and back?
  • The Hubble telescope
  • Discussion of star formation

Did you know that you can use your library card to borrow a telescope?

Our 40 cm Dobsonian telescopes are lightweight and easy to use. Each comes with a carrying bag, simple instructions, a guidebook about viewing the night sky, a finderscope and two eyepieces: 4 mm and 20 mm in size.

Find them in our library catalogue

About Bill Burnyeat:

Long-time astronomer Bill Burnyeat has travelled all over the province to conduct talks and demonstrations. Among other roles, he has been the community astronomer for the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, the resident astronomer at BCIT, and a continuing studies instructor at SFU.

Using an inflatable planetarium, he has visited Coquitlam Public Library to speak with kids on a handful of occasions. In the summer of 2019, he attended the launch of the library’s telescope collection.